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March 1997 ~ -,. ~..........

Issue 6 ÂŁ2.50

Lady in the Dark comes into the light David Nathan talks to

I New face


II '" I 0]

9 771]64 76]009

Editor's Letter ime was when new Irish plays, regardless o f their qu ality, rarely performed well at thea tre box­ ulfices in England. Grea t reviews did no t necessarily guarantee grea t audie nces a nd mounting a new Irish play was something of a high-risk ve nture. But no t anymore. The air is alive with the

.J of qu olity Blarney as an impressiv e crop of Irish d ramatists, fo llowing in the co lo urful traditio n of " &'ucica ult, JB Kea ne , Oscar Finga l O' Flahertie Wills Wilde, Sean O 'Casey, J M Synge and Samuel

=-=_',;<, [( have become de rigueur. The problems of an oppressed , rebe llious co untry, divid ed bo th religiously and politicall y, have for _=: ~J _: been angril y, and poetica lly expressed by dramatists whose passio nate fl air for words is apparent

u, - h contempo ra ry Irish pl aywrights as Billy Roche, To m Murphy, Marina Carr, Frank McGuinness, : ["":btian Barry, Brian Friel and, the new boy on the bloc k, Martin McDonagh, whose Th e Beauty Q ueen . Lu·"" ne and The CripJlie of Inishmaan h ave been hits at the Royal Court and th e Royal National :-he:M re respectively. Later in the year the Royal C o urt will be mo unti ng the prolific McDonagh' s Co nnemara trilogy (of ...h lCh Leenane was the first), to be staged in conjunctio n with the Druid Theatre o f Galway; while the " ~ !ll> nal are fo llo wing

lnishmaan with parrs twO and three of their own McDon agh trilogy.

Tom Murphy is to have a season of his plays presented by the Royal C o urt, including The \lYake, ':trected by G arry Hines at the Ro yal Court Do wnstairs. The Court is also contemplating a seaso n of clr i ~ n Friel plays. The Tricycle Theatre, mea nwhile, continues its tradition of prese nting some uf the beSt

" r irish thea tre with Pass io n Machine's Kirchensink by Paul Mercier, and D'Unbeli evables, (alias Jo n Kenny and Pat Sho rt , twO of lrelands's top comic pe rformers) in I Doubt It.

It wo uld be invid io us of a theatre magazine n ot to acknowledge television as a n impor tant medium for J, sseminating, to the widest poss ible public, d ra ma in all its forms. H ence the introduction , this month, of a regular TV co lumn by Ro nald Berga n , who kicks o ff by reviewing the first three (of 5) pl ays



P"rformance series. There is no point in bewailing the time when viewers had the chance to see frequent adaptati ons o f classic pl ays and mode rn masterpi eces as well as almost all the plays of Shakespeare. What makes TV drama exciting today is not only its techincal accomplishments, but the chance it gives bo th new and eStablished performers, writers and directors to manifest th eir skills in single dra mas or series - bo th period and contemporary. And because we no lo nger have a particularly active film industry in thi s country, there is also more of a TV crossove r than ever before in which ma ny stage stats ca n regularl y be seen on the box . Stage and small screen are no lo nge r rivals but partners supplying each o ther with an abundance of talent. Lo ng may they continue to be so.








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The Peter Hall Company


The Old Vic

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THE CLASSICS: Waste from 4 March

THE NEW PLAYS: Hurlyburly frv m 2.1 ~arch

by Harley Granville- Harker

by O'll!id Rahc

, Cloud Nine

Prayers of Sherkin

frc>l)l , l0 March

by Ca ryl 'Im""ill

The Seagull

from 18 )"by

by Sebastiau Ha,rry

from 28 April

Grace Note

by Anton Chekhov translaled by '10m Stoppard

from 6 July

by Samuel ALWlllson

Waiting For Godot ,

Playhouse Creatures

from 16 J une

from '14 Septemher by April de Angelis

by Sqmuel Beckett

, The Provok'd Wife

Snake in th¢ Grass

from 23 June

fro m 12 O ctohe r /;y Roy MacGregor

by Sir Johll \/a/lbrugh

King Lear , fro m 25


Aug\lst ,

hy Willilim , hakespeare



from 9 Noyc mbt...'r

, by Chris HaJllulII '

Sir Peter Hall

New Plays Director: Dominic Producer:

David Mirvish


in associat ion with

Bill Kenwright


OFFSTAGE News and gossip from around the West End


8 LADY IN THE DARK Dick Vosburgh on a musical that gets its West End premiere 56 years after it was first written

MARIA FRIEDMAN 10 David Nathan interviews the actress, and talks

about her starring role in Lady in the Dark

15 0NSTAGE Clive Hirschhorn reviews the West End's latest offerings DIARY 18 New productions in and

around the West End

20 MAn WOLF .. .questions the wisdom behind this year's awards nominations APPLAUSE THEATRE CLUB 23 Christopher Biggins brings you more

great mone)'-saving offers on top

West End shows


Dark Lady. p.I O

PEOPLE WHO MAKE A DIFFERENCE 33 David Nathan talks to producer Bill Kenwright 35 RICHARD NELSON Sheridan Morley assesses the work of an American playwright who does very well over here REMARKABLE CAREERS 37 A look at the work of actress

Constance Cummings, with Michael Arditti

39 BOOK REVIEW Sam Ingleby on Neil Simon's memoirs QUIET AT THE BACK, PLEASE! 40 The theatre nuisance according to Ronala Bergan 42 NEW FACES Ruaidhri Conroy, currently making his mark in The Cripple of lnishmaan SPECTRUM 43 Opera, Dance, TV and Art reviews and previews

by Max Loppen, Jeffery Taylor , Ronala Bergan

and John Russell-Taylor

49 OFFSTAGE BROADWAY Michael Riedel with news and gossip from the Big Apple QUIZ 50

Remarkable. p.37

50 SHOWS THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE ... to Gerala Kaufman, MP

iv\ARC H 1997 APPlAUSE 5


TED, A NEW MUSICAL by Tony Drew and Rob

Stoppard's new one about A E Ho usman, au thor

SHOCKHORROR ! Stephen Fry may return to the

Bettinson abo ut a gwup of teddy boys in 1950s'

of A Shropshire Lad. It ope ns a t the Lytte lton

stage in a year's time. Outing his las t and

Blackpoo l, is already slated fo r a March 1998

o n I Oc toher, the d ay Trevor N unn takes over.

somewhat notorio us th ea tric al outing, a sudd e n

opening in the West End . The musical will n o doubt have the Bettinson feel about it. His two




taste Belgian chocolates in situ overcame

him and he abandoned the production. Pl ans

prior musicals - Buddy and Jolson - could have


for his return

h ad their darker moments but the compose r­

Theatre have, unfortunately, gone west.

as yet, but he may take a cameo role as a wait er

director chose to go fo r the feelgood factor. The

H o wever, A rtistic Director Ian Talbot has o pted

in a multi-m ed ia theatre event at the ICA.

teddy boys in his new production will probably

for a highly suitabl e replacement in Kiss Me

Actor Colin McFarlane has devised the piec e

help o ld ladies with their shopping and are su re

Kate, Cole Po rte r' s adaptation of Th e Taming of th e Shrew. The musical will join A Midsummer Night 's Dream and All's Well That Ends Well in

which should also fea ture Frances Barber and

to be safely tucked up in hed by nine o'cl oc k.

• ••


the thea tre are very provisional

Anita Dobson .


the reperto ire in July.

THE OffEN ASKED QUESTION over the last ye ar

ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER'S two new musicals

Rent' The

A Scar is Born and Whistle Down the Wind are

has been, Who's going

bo th definitely goi ng to ope n in the West End

Am erican producers seemed to be making such


pay the

next year, so it seems likely that 1998 will be

high demands during the negoti at io ns for a

christened the Year of O ur (New) Lord.

British transfer that a posse o f producers had shown interest and then shied away. H owev er,


Duncan Weldon h as now sec uted the British


rights to the Ton y-laden tuner and he hopes to

Hard Time s is on its way into the West End in

bring it to the Prince of W ales this Autumn.

May. Aled Jones, t he ex-cho irbbo y, see ms to


have given up his attempt to become a rock ido l (thank G od for small mercies) a nd he stars

PAM GEM S' MARLENE, a biographical play about

alongside fell ow Welshman Philip Madoc and

Marlene Di e trich, is due at a small West End

Fenella Fielding. (Welcome back, Fenell a,

ve nue in April. The critics may no t have

where have you been I). Unlike the world of

warmed to the musical play while it was o ut on

televi sion , the W est End h as so far rema ined

tour but Sian Phillips' central performance as

la rgely immune to 'costume commo tion' - i.e.

the drink -sodd en diva is incred ible.

the inability to believe that a ny project could


capture the popular imagination if it doesn't involve a vand a lised Victorian text, an ove rdose


of sideburns and a seri es o f gravity-defying

Am erican directo r Wilson Milam. He h as been

dresses. We have had our fair share of musical

plucked from relative o bscu rity to direct the


TH OUG HT for the young

adaptati ons - Heathcliff and Scrooge for example

Bri tish premiere o f H urly Burly, the first new

- but so far we have bee n spared an epidemic.

play in the Peter Hall Co mpany's repertoire at

Could this be because o ur o ften maligned critics

The O ld Vic. At a recent press conference, he

have a collective allergy to such projects!

stood shyly at the side of the room as Sir Peter introduced him to the gat hered bigwigs of the


British arts press as the 'wonderful American

BACK IN JAN UARY, Julian Mitchell wrote a n

director, Mr... I'm sorry, I have no id ea what your

article claiming that Richard Eyre h ad

name is'. Ho pefully, Hurly B~(rly will be a great

completely failed to fulfil the National Theat re's

success with the director's name em everyone's li ps.

remit to produce new plays. Eyre's final nine months in charge will have included premieres of new plays from Martin McDonagh, Peter

ON E WORD IMPROV, playing a t the Al be ry,

Gill, Tony Kushn er, Patric k Marber, David

provides the o nly chance to see Eddie Izzard in

Hare and Tom Stoppard . I think that Julian's

the West End thi s yea r. I h o pe that this does n ot

real point is that Richard Eyre has singularly

mean that the su rreal transvestite comedian is

failed in his remit to produce new plays by

to spe nd ml)re time writing television sc ripts.

Julian Mitchell. InCidentally, the very last play

His Co ws fo r Channel 4 was lam entable but

to be produced under Eyre's tenure will be

Izzard o n stage is some thing e lse entirel y.



Dick Vosburgh looks at the origins of a musical which is the product of

a collaboration by Ira Gershwin, Kurt Weill and Moss Hart, and which takes psychoanalysis as its unlikely theme, ne of the lov eliest mu sical

scene. Eleven years later, Rodgers and Hart (no

shows o f recent years' (New

relation to Moss) agreed ro write the sco re for

York Times). 'One of the

Kaufman and Hart's Dienich musical, but the

most stupend ous evenings

project was abando ned wh en the second act

the theane will afford in

fo rces o n the political satire I'd Rather Be Right.

time so successful a wedding between play and

After five more colla borati ons with Kaufman,

music has been consummated in the modern

Moss decided ro write on his own in future.

theatre.' (Bosron Daily Record). These are

This came as no surprise ro the playwright Marc

typical o f the superlatives lavished on Lady

Connelly, who had once observed, 'Moss is in

in the Dark 56 years ago. Thanks ro the

such a state of genuf1ection roward Geo rge all

Royal Nati o nal Theaue, this 1941 Kun

the time that I don't know how they ever ge t a

Weill-Ira Gershwin-Moss Han musical

play wrinen. Moss really wants ro be George's

play finally ope ns in Londo n on March 11,

son.' Thi s profeSSional break was urged by

starring Maria Friedman and dir ec ted by

Hart' s psychi a tri st, the no ted Freudian,

Franceska Zambello, whose 1995

Dr Gregory Zilboorg, who felt that hi s patient's

television production of Weill's Street

veneration fo r the older Kaufman was stunting

Scene won the Nombre d'Or-Preis.

his emotional we ll-being. It was therefore

Moss Ha n's fir st success in the theatre was the comedy Once in a

highly appropriate that Moss's first play after the break was another attempt at dramatising

Lifetime, which he wro te with the

psychoanalysis - this time as a serio us drama. It

mercurial George S Kaufman in 1930.

was also appro priate th at o ne of the decisions

By 1937 they had also collaborated on

its troubled heroine Liza Elliott ultimately

Merrily We Roll Along and the Pulitzer Prize-w inning You Can't Take It With

lover, an older man, abou t whom she has a

Ymc. it was then that Hart, who had been in psychoanalysis for fou r years, suggested ro The 1943 Playbill from ,he Broadwa)' Theatre where Gercnuie Lawrence opened in Lady in rhe Dark.

proved intractable. Instead, the fou rsome joined

this or any other season' (Variety). 'The first

makes is ro end her lo ng rel ationship with her father fi xa tio n. The initia l title fo r thi s work was I Am

Kaufman that they write a Broadway musical on

Listening, a phrase with which Zilboorg began

the subject , ro star Marlene Dierrich. Altho ugh

his analytic sessions. Liza Ellion is a female

he srro ngly di sapproved of psychiauists,

Hamlet - a woman who canno t make up her

Kaufman eventually agreed, and he and Hart

mind. For ten years she has been th e ediror of a

went shopping fo r a lyricist and composer.

successful fashion magazine, but, for reasons she can't explain, ex peri ences periods of terror and

Though I know I may be worse'n

Any other crazy person

When in dreams I glide,

I feel subconscious pride .

Some night I will wake right up by chance

And kick my old subconscious in the pants'

melancholia, which prevent her making any kind of deci sio n, personal or professi o nal. At these times, fragments of a little song (the exquisite 'My Ship') come into her mind. Like 'Rosebud' in Citizen Kane (also 1941), thi s song is the key to Liza's unhappiness, and is finally sung in full at the climax of the pl ay.

Part of a lyric wrinen by Lorenz Hart (to Richard Rodgers' music) fo r Peggy-Ann (1926),



Ha rt envisioned the distinguished actress Katharine Cornell as his protagonist, but as the

a successful show about the Freudian

writing continu ed , he came to realise that the

interpretation o f dreams. Like the la ter Lady in

all-important Freudian dream sequences should

the Dark, Peggy -Ann had no o verture, and,

be musicalised , and that a star acrress/singer was

indeed, no so ngs until after a lengthy dialogue

needed. About this time, Kurt Weill ,


a fan of Am erican co mic strips, ask ed Han t,)

minstrel show was la rer cha nged

r,,\\me the book of a musical called Th e

(Today, after the 0 J Simpson trial, a

FunnIes . Moss declined, but invited Weill co mpose the music fo r I Am Listening. O ne of the first actors



be cast was a


a circus.

film version, whi ch starred G inge r Rogers. A ltho ugh a fin anc ial success, thi s Technicolor

courtroo m-cum -c ircus has los t much of its

travesty jettiso ned nearly all the

(antasy va lue.) This jurisprude nce -anJ-sawdusr

Weill/Gershwin songs, ga ve pride of place

sequence co ntained rwo of rhe bes t known

new ballad by Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van H eusen, bowdlerized 'The Saga of Jenny', and

28 -yea r-o ld nightclub comedian named Danny

son gs in the score: Gerrie's 'The Saga of Jenny',

Kaye , for who m H art wrote the role of th e

which immediately fo ll o wed Danny Kaye's

re ndered H an' s plo t meaning less by never

effemina te fashion photographer, Russell

tongue-twisting 'Tschaik owsky', rrobably the

il liowing its leitmo rif, 'My Ship' to be sung in full.

Pax tOn . Hart found h is Liza o ne Sund ay night,

most irrelev ant show-sto pper since Mary

when he and Kaufman went to a rehearsal of a

Marrin sang Co le Porter's 'My Hea rt Belongs

British War Relief benefit, in which they we re



r erfc) rm a d"uble act. Gertrude Lawrence was

a lst) taking rart , and after the rehearsal, Han

Daddy' while do ing a strip tease in the



Moss Hart wfOre four more pl ays after

Lady in the Dark, but neve r ano ther music al 颅

snow o urside a Siberia n railway stari o n in

alrhough he di recred the original productions

Leave It

of My Fair Lady a nd Camelot. He wro te an



acc laimed autob iography, Act One, in 1960,

im'ited her "ut for a snack. 'As we drank our l'eer. I .lsked her point blank if she wanted


ady in the Dark made Broadway hisrory;

and died a year later at rhe age of 57, jusr six

he, r nw new rla\,', he recalled. 'Sh e was, as a

not only did it rl ay ro so ld -our houses

mo nths afte r the dearh of his lo ngt ime partner

rna! <'r ,,( fac t , sea rching wildly for a play for the

rhrougho ur its two -season run, but ro a

George S Kaufm an .

new ,e;tS, ll1 and would g ive me an answe r

con siste nrly pac ked standin g roo m. In his New York

Im me,iiare ly.' That ' immed iately' took four maddening 111. ,nt hs,

at the end o f which Weill roo lVas in

Time s review, Brooks Arkinson congratulated

need of psychiatric counselling. Whe n Gertie

H an on finding one way

l clearly born ro playa character wracked by

of gerring back all the

ind ecisio n) finally said yes, Ha rt and Weill

mo ney he'd given

\\'e nt shopping for a lyricist.

Dr Zilboorg.


De spire its fine

If )'ol.<'ve any mental problem that perplexes If there's an),thing that's wrong -with your refle xes If you're reall), nut certain as to -which yuur sex IS We are positive that you had better see Dr Freud and lung and Adler, Adler and lung and h eud - Six sex ps)'chos, we'

score, Lady in the Dark is rarely re vived. Altho ugh (ar more women today ed it presrigious magazines, and childhood trauma is even better und erstood tha n in 1941,

So ran pan o f a lyric written by Ira Gershwin

Hart's book has

(to George G ershwin's music) for Pardon My

inev itab ly dated ; the

English (I 933), a show about duo- perso nality

medi a have poured o ut so much materi al about

that man aged only 46 performances. Seven

psychoanalysis in the past 56 years thar liza's

yea rs later, Ira agreed

9-day voyage


wtite the lyrics for


se lf-discove ry no w see ms rar her

1 Am Listening, his first musical since th e death

simrli stic. Also, the currency value of such

of his brother.

di alogue as ' I can't stan d aside while you

With George, Ita had already written two music als for the formidable Gertrude Lawrence:

proceed to destroy something very imrortanr to me' has bee n devalued by overu se, and

Oh, Kay' (1 926) and Treasure Girl (I 928) . Time

man y of the play's elements a re a nything bur

had not me llo wed Ge rtie in the interim; the

PC: irs he ro ine reali ses she needs a man who

new musical was renamed Lad), in the Darl< at

will dominate her, that man is a sexist type

her insistence. (She liked playing the tide role

who likes to rinch womens' bottoms, and

in a show.) O ne day at rehearsal, she srorped

Russell ('Rea lly, I could spit !') Pax to n is a

singing 'My Shi p' during the middle 8: 'I could

stereOtyp ical fl ounC in g gay. And ho w will

wait for years/ TiI.1 it appears/ O ne fine day one

Franceska Zambello ge t around rhe

sp ring'. Acidly, she inquired o f Ira, ' Why fOllr

technical problems posed by the play's

years - why nor five or six?' Gershwin solved

cinematic structure ? (The original

rhe rroblem by replacing the 'for' with a less

rroduction employed 58 performers,

ambiguous 'the'. (BaWingly, the acting edition

51 srageh and s and (our revo lving stages. )

of Lad)' in the Dark, published by the Dramatists

Will the Nationa l have to includ e a

Pl ay Service, retains 'fo r yea rs', and it will be

glossary in the progra mme ro exp lain a rcane



hear whar Maria Friedman sings .}

referenc es ro Tommy Manville, Wendell

Arart from so me unch arac teristi cally impure

Wilki e, the WPA, and this Ira G ershwin

rhymes, ('prosecutio n' and 'e lec trocutio n' is the

couplet: ' ..... she 's so glamorous / She makes all

mosr glaring), Gershwin's lyrics are as adro it as

o ther wom en arpear Hamm acher

anything he wrote wirh his brother, and Weill's

Schlammorous' ?

mu sic is admirably eclecr ic. One o f their dream

GeHrt /de Lawrence sinRing 'The Saga of l enny' from ,he Broadway prod'lCl.i/)n (lOp) . and G inger Rodgers in ,he 1943 mou,e.

Excert for a 198 1 Norringha m Playhouse

fantasies a t first combined a courtroom scen e

rroducrio n \\路hich sta rred Ce leste Ho lm , Lad ), in

wirh a minsrre l sho w, but mercifully, the

(he Dark

1, ,' n ,''''n in Britain onl y by rhe 1944 ivlARCH 1997 APPIA.U5E 9

A dedicated actress who has had no formal training, Maria Friedman talks to David Nathan about her passion (and Passion), and about her latest role as a woman discovering herself through pschotherapy in Lady in the Dark.

t is possible that Maria Friedman, in

I am very protective about my work process

one of the drea m sequences in Lady in the

because, so far, it wo rks for me. When ir srops,

Dark, opening at the Lynelton in March

I'll chat ro you all day long abou r it.'

for the Royal National Theatre, will walk a rightrope. She may even sing ar the same time. Ir is a ready-mad e merapho r for

rehearsal s, she could nor bear anyone ro watch

life are linked by the same means rhat keeps

her while she was o n the rope. This, she

It is a precarious exercise, fo r her

hanging in mid-air with o nly the slenderest

power upon perso nal memories which are never

means of suppOrt can rake ir roo far. For the

rev ealed. This lady always keeps parr of herself

rest she is confident enough once the nightly

in rhe dark. Once, shortly before her one足

mo ment o f fear is banished as she steps o nto

woman show at the Whitehall Theatre

the stage. She has had no formal training as an

desert isl and castaway quesrion of whar her

actress. Her family was musica l, her mother a

choice o f music meant ro her personally. She

concert pianisr, her farher, Leo nard, a violinist.

would nor, could nor rell me, except ro say,

So is her brother, Richard. She was born in

'so ngs have deep memories, but I never say why

Switzerland and they moved ro Germany

I sing a particular song beca use rhar's privare.

when her father was offered a post with the

I want people ro feel what I'm feeling, but n o r

Bremen Philharm onic. German - and she finds

ro know derails. They are their songs, not

the facr 'bizarre' - is her firsr language. She

just mine This time she to ld the srory of a champion javelin thrower she saw being interviewed about his technique. ' He tried ro describe it and

came ro Britain when she was five years old, 31 years ago. Her parents divorced amicably and in the mid-sixties her father m oved ro Scotland where

afterwards, thi s man who had broken records,

he founded rhe Sconish Chamber Orchestra,

began to lose. What had been instinctive,

Sconish Opera and rhe Sco rrish Baroque

unforced and natural became se lf-co nsc ious and

Ensemble. He was a direcror o f the

he was trying to recreate what he had said

Mendel sso hn o n Mull Festival when he died.

rather than being in the mo ment.' In the moment ! 'One of the hardes t things as an actor - no,

Bur before that he was able ro bear witness ro a semina l moment in the family's life. Maria had starred singing with a close

one of the most glorious things as an actor - is

harmo ny group, had spent eighteen months in a

when you are in the mo me nt , a quiet, safe,

rouring versio n of Oklahoma! which ended up

concentrated space. If you start ro d o stuff when

in the West End, had appeared in Blues in the Night at the Donmar and was now cast ~

yo u are out of the moment it becomes acting.


realised, could cause a problem with an audience. She has rhe gift o f vulnerabiliry, but

performance, so frank and open, depends for its

18 months ago , I asked her rhe commonplace


may be dropped as, at an early stage in

the way her private life and her performing them apart.


The tightrope sequence, for which she was being trained by a n acrobat from Circus Space,

,\Mj(C.., 1997 APPlAUSE 1 1

in (h e Na(io na l Theane produc(i on of Joshua

af(er Ghetto,' she says, '(har I decided I was

Sobo l' s G hwo. Se( in (he (Own of Vilna, now

passiona(e abo u( wha( I did an d (h a( I didn '(

Vilniu s, in li(huani a, i( is a musica l pl ay (h a(


(e ll s (he s(O ry of (he Vilna YidJish Thea n e

loved wha( I dJd and a lways rook i( seri ously.

group and i( s ex (inc(io n , along wi(h i(s

Bu( I didn'( have a 1m of self-bel ief. I had an

audience, by (he N az is. She had no( knc,w n (ha(

age n( wh o fil(er ed audi(i o ns

he r granJpare ncs ca me fro m Vilna uncil she

someone who coulJ guide my career. So I juS(

received a (e le gra m from her fa(her whi ch read:

(Ook (he jo bs I was of(ereJ.

audi(io ns wi(h (he big compan ies , so I d id (he

When, a few years Ia(e(, her farher died

less exci(ing scuff, (hings li ke Bwter~ ies are Free.

be(wee n her (Wo one- wo man sho ws a( (he Donmar, i( was a devas(a( ing loss. She told me

I did Therese Raquin in (he top room of a ru b in

(h en, 'I'm lucky in (ha( I can rue rain in(O my

from of five pe orle in a nc) raks. And an abridged

songs. I('s a gif( I gO( from him and my mum a nd rrobably from genera( io ns before (hem.

version o f Romeo and}uliet fc) r sc hoo ls. Bu( wi(h Ghetto I me( N ick Hyrner 束(he d irec (Or) and I

For me, mu sic is a need, I have

sudde nly fel( (ha( being a n ac (Or \Vasn'( juS(


do it. '

Her music is of (he und ying kind, (he

si n ging, dancing and entena inin g, (h a( you

songs of George and Ira Gershwin, Weill,

co uld reall y communicate some (hing

Sondheim, Arle n, Brei, Berns(e in, Harnick

I( is

huge a (hing



people .

say (ha( i( can change

and Bock , Rodgers and H an, Comden and

reo ple' s liv es because i( does n'(. Bu( I( enhances (hem, ma kes peorl e (hink. I fel ( (ha( I


'I lo ve

coul d be invo lved in some(hing (ha( \Va s (es(ing

so ngs wi(h s(Ories,' she says, 'songs wi(h

and de mand ing, bo(h for myself and, hopefull y,

characre r. Mc,s( of (he POI' songs (alk abou(

(he aud ie nce .'

one emoti o nal s(a(e. I go fo r things I ca n charac(erise. My singing, I like


She h as no r rot-Iem wi(h ma king herself ugly if (he ra rt reyuires it. [n (he S(e[,hen


is ac( ing

Sondheim/ Jame s Lap ine

Where she can, she (akes grea( pains - a nd

Pa.\S IUn

1",( yea r she

bec ame yUI(e sc, ur and mad as a \\'"man who

grea( expe nse - o ver (he a rrangeme n(s

obsess i\'e!y sdks a man . lr ran for I(S scheduled

of (he songs, r ay ing for (he hes(, working wi(h

six mo nrhs in (he Wes ( End bu( k)s ( money and

(h e arranger for ho urs at a (im e. This is no(

divided (hea tregoers and cri(ics a like. ' I( wasn'(




d ifficu l( whe n (he arrange r is Jere my Sa ms, (he

abou( perfect love,' she says, 'bu( an

comroser, Iyricis( and (heane direc (O r, her

unco mfo rtabl e, di stressing story (c) wa(c h.'

panner and fa(her o f her (hree year olJ hoy,

She was offered o(her \Xies( End sho ws 足

To by. 'We n ea( a song,' she sa ys , 'as if no o ne

'big, cc)mmercia l (h in gs ' - and turned (hem

h as eve r sung i( before, as if no o ne has e ver

down, desri(e (he loads o f mo ney in vo lved. ' I

heard ie. '

love go ing (0 see (hese (hings' she sa ys , 'bu(

She could no( be exrec (ed


res is( Lady in


d o (h em e igh( (imes a \Veek " She pull s a fac e.

the Dark wi(h i(s score by Ira G e rshwin a nd

Nor was she inre res(ed in (he (el ev isi on offers.

Kun Weill. To (hose

She describes (hem as 'gi rl-friend pans, (he kind


she adds Moss H an.

Tha(,' she sa ys, 'is a preny heav y cock(ail.' There was (he scrip(,

(00 .

'I lo ved (he ide a of

o f wo man who has a pulse o nly when (h e man 's in (he room.' [f (e le visio n h ad ()ffered her her

a r lay se( in (he 1940s wi(h (he world a ( war

own so ng show she would have jum ped a( ie.

and a wo man in a pos i(io n of au(hority running

Bm o nly if she had comple(e control of (he

a very successful co mra n y a nd fi nding (ha( her

mate ri a l. Mo re (han a ny(hing else , she woulJ

life , her work and h er relm ion shirs we re all


imperilled because of he r emo (i onal sta(e.

music OU(

'I( has resonance a nd re leva nce fo r (Oday, (00 .

Wh a( isn'( so radica l (Oday is (ha( she (akes

her proble ms


a psychi a ni st. Then i( was


(ake o ver (he Albert H a ll (0


'ge( my

lo (s of people.'

Af(e r Lady in the Dark she has (he mo re realis(ic , s( i11 risky, ambi(to n


(ake her o ne足

woma n show, which includes a lor of Broadwa y

absolurely new ground. H er famasies beco me

show songs , (0 Broadway. 'I ' m nm fri gh(e neJ of

reali(ies in he r drea ms and

(ha(,' she says. 'I fee l I'm very sa fe wi(h a 12足


are nm qui (e

sure which is which as (he (Wo wo rlds cc) llide.

piece band and (he suppo r( of (he music, a ll

N e arl y all (he mu sic happe ns wi(hin (he

(hose wo nde rful chords, notes and words.'

dreams; (he res( of i( is like a stra igh( r lay.' The ac(i ng is n ow as impor(anr


her as

(he mu sic. She harks back to G hetto, in 1989 . 'I ( was



Green, Po n e r and Vernon Duke. Th e Bea rles and Randy Newm an co me into i(


me hu( no (

lo(s of straigh( (he a(re before, hu ( I neve r gO (

keering rheir (hough(s and wo rds a live. '



'They were n'( a ll singinc j0 hs. I had don e

'Yo ur granJrare ncs love and (h ank you fo r


do any(hing else. Ur uncil (hen I had


Wha(ever comes up, (he o nl y offers she will re fu se are, as she pu(S i(, '(he (hings (ha( dc' no( make my hea n bea ( fas(e r.' lr see ms (ha( she needs (ha( (ightrope .

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Wha t the lJapen \jay ... THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN National Theatre, Cattesioe


Paul Taylor, Independent Iemerged from Nicholas Hytner's lovingly acted and directed production with the resentful sense of having been conned by a writer of undoubted talent, but as yet no artistic principle or moral scruple...McDonagh 's relationship to his material is primarily a heartless, opportunistic one.

The latest productions from the West End reviewed by Clive Hirschhorn.



fulcrum on which rhe plor sw ings is rhe arrival, ar he ex rraord inary promise shown by Marrin rhe neighbouring island of In ish more, of a l\1cDomlgh in hi s accomplished firsr play, Hollywood film crew, head ed by director Robert The B2,IlHYQueen of Leenane, has been Imr rc;sil' ely fulfill ed in The Cripple of Inishmaan, Fla he rty. The film rhey 're making is Man of Aran, .1 c.lmdy rhar also manages, wirhour recourse co and , to esca pe rhe soulless rourine of his wrerched , eve ryday life, Billy is derermined, ;<'nn mema liry, co brea k yo ur hearL Abu ndand\' som ehow, ro land h imself a role in it. Bur F'''')Fld wirh rhe mosr co lourful gallery of Flaherry ge rs him nowhere. -h,, [<1crers rhis side of Synge and O'Case y, and \\ Irh a narrari ve dri ve borh rich and unpredicr ­ As in The BeatHy QLteen of Lecnane, only more so, McDo nagh' s gifr for srory- relling is one It-k rhe pl ay reverberares haumingly, and of rhe play 's prime glories. jusr when you rhink m;inuares irself in rhe memory. Ir 's ser on a remore isl and off rhe wesr coas r you're on e jump ahe ad of rhe plor and are .t Ireland in 1934 in (among several orher confidenrly predicring rhe ourcome, rh e play­ " laces), a small counrry shop run by Eileen wri ghr, wirh dazzling dex teriry, changes direcri on, ll_hourne (Dea rbhla Molloy ) and her sisrer Kare leav ing you momenrarily flumm oxed and your \.4. nira Reeves). Li ving wirh rhem, as he has ex pecrat ions co nfounded. Ir' s a roller-coasrer ride J one ever since he was a baby, is 18 year-old Billy he rakes you on, complere wirh emorional highs (Ruaidhri C onroy), referred ro as Crippled Billy and lows rhar se nd your spirirs soaring one r ccause of a severe deformiry in one arm and one momenr, rhen, wirhour due warning, crushing leg. The on-going butt of everyone' s mirrh and rhem rhe nex t. jr is ne ver maudlin and never, for Je rision (even one of his aums rem ark s rhar an insram , loses irs sense of humour. lou'd se e ni ce r eyes on a goa r) Billy, wh ose McDonagh's orher strengrh is his abiliry to creare compe lling, larger-rhan-life characrers I'arenrs allegedly drowned in a suicide pacr rarher rh an be saddl ed wirh rheir mi s-shapen offspring, wirhour rheir lapsing inro groresque caricarure. has, ir seems, become innured co rh e jibes, pur -downs and insulrs of rhe loca l islanders, none of whom mean any rea l harm to rhe lad, and wh ose inse miri ve references ro his condi(Lon, have, over rhe yea rs , become par for Bill y's course. Ir's as rhough hi s aPl'earance cues a rhoughrl ess reflex response in all who encounter hi m - including his fri end BarrieI' (Owen Sharpe), loca l goss ip johnnypareenmike (Ray McBrid e), and Barr/ey's pretty and pren y foul -mourhed An oU Lstanding performance fTOm Raaidhli C onro)' as TI\C C ri pple or Imsh mann . sevemee n year-old sisrer Helen (A islmg O'Sullivan ), on whom Bill y has a serious, bur hopeless crush. Ir' s a tricky business trading in eccentriciry, and Though several strand s of narrarive present McDonagh, risking credibiliry wirh ea ch new rhemsel ves and, ulrimarely interweave , rhe charac rer he weaves inro rh e fabric of hi s play, brillianrly fulfil s rh e dange rous brief he has ass Igned himself. Bill y's I'en cham for sraring ar cows, for example, Bartley's obsession wirh relescopes, Kare 's rendency ro ralk ro srones in .; Favourable to glowing I'eri ods uf cri ses, Eileen' s compulsion co ear Lukewarm to slating

sweers, anJ Ell stoc k her sh op wlrh cans of peas, johnn ypatl'enmi kc s ,' dSSlnn for gossip, Helen's

What the papers say ... X



prope I1S1 t\· (or hurltn" c~" , at whoever


Alastair Macaulay, Financial Times Nicholas Hytner, who has grown a stranger to the British stage in recent years, has retvrned to direct this Yallamallow of a play. I wonder why.


Michael Billington, Guardian Although it at times has the air of ingenious postiche, it is still buoyantly funny. It is also well directed by Nicholas Hytner and beautifully designed by Bob Crowley. Ruaidhri Conroy, who has the spindly intensity of a yaung O'Toole, makes an impressive stage debut as Billy.


Benedict Nightingale, The Times Time will tell if McDonagh's display of expatriate scepticism causes offence. All this Englishman can report is exhilaration at a tough ... funny... troubling ... boisterous, gifted play. ./)( Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph Though I laughed loudly and often , it was impossible to silence nagging doubts . There is a faint hint of the fake about the piece, a suggestion that it isn't so much Irish as pictures­ quely 'Oirish' ... throughout the writing is devoid of the generosity of spirit which enriches the less showy, but more satisfying, plays of Billy Roche.


Michael Coveney, Observer McDonagh's enjoyable confection thrives on its callow jauntiness. The play positively bounces along in Nicholas Hytner's expert, very funny and brilliantly cast production. . ; Shoun Usher, Daily Mail The play's a constant challenge to humbug about finer feelings , a vein shocking one into laughter while wincing at human-nature truths behind the jibes. ./)( Nicholas de Jongh, Evening Standard Nicholas Hytner's suspenseful, beautifully acted production and Bob Crowley's settings convey a sense of cut-off rural community... But there's a gratvitous sado-masochistic relish in McDonagh's portrait of the cripple as a subject for amusement. . ; John Peter, Sunday Times McDonagh's writing is a tight-rope act of unnerving skill and maturity. Raw humour and brutality dance hand in hand ... This wonderful play is in the finest tradition of Irish writing ./)( John Gross, Sunday Telegraph The main strength of the piece lies in the humour... the story of Billy himself is less successful. We remain relatively unmoved by il. .. an air of clever manipulation hangs over the playas a whole . . ; Bill Hagerty, News of the World The brilliant young writer presents a slice of Irish rurallife .. .unlike any ather you've ever seen.. . Nicholas Hytner's production sparkles through­ out and there are some wonderful performances.

M ARet-< 1997 APPLAUSE


What the papers say ... A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE Haymarket Theatre

./ Benedid Nightingale, The Times Peter Hall's production ... sustains the proper tension and ... achieves the necessary intensity.. Longe shows you the pinched, stricken face behind the briHle, glitttering smiles and the pain and the panic beneath the ethereal charm ... as complete a performance as anyone should expect.


Nicholas de Jongh, Evening Standard Peter Hall's medium-cool production lacks atmospheric vigour and reaches a falsely consoling conclusion ... Jessica Lange brings the character.. . poignantly to life ... Unfartunately Toby Stephens' Stanley is more a clean-cut college-bay than a thuggish, elemental Polak.


Robert Gore-Langton, Express A Rowed, at times over-reverential, production.

But at best it's pulverising stuff, exposing the

sordid intensity of this masterpiece.


Shoun Usher, Daily Mail

Arguably one-noted, heavily dependent on

fluHery, incomplete gestures and a maddening

liHle laugh, Miss Lange still strikes a nerve and

demands compassion ... Peter Hall's staging.. could be described as snail-paced, except that it is nat quite that hurried.


Michael Billington, Guardian

Jessica Lange is unquestionably a star (butll

don't feel sure she was born to play Blanche

DuBois ... I find it hard to believe in her as the

delicate creature of Williams' imagination.

. / Alastair Macaulay, Financial Times Jessica Lange... a performance completely and satisfyingly aHuned to Peter Hall's new production and to the English cost around her. Everything here is finely judged. . / Paul Taylor, Independent Still drop-dead gorgeous and evidently feeling no great desire to deny this in the interests of the role, a radiant Longe comes over like on object lesson in healthy ageing ... Hall' s production achieves some fine effects in its overlappings of subjective and objective reality.


Robert Butler, Independent on Sunday

Longe does copture many aspects of feathery,

fragile , overwrought Blanche.. . but for all the

effort... the port does not connect with (her)

tough, rangy, individual talent.


Charles Spencer, Telegraph

This most bruising of dramas repeatedly fails to

harrow and move me as it should . Port of the

problem lies in Hall's stately and over-reverential

production. The bigger problem is Miss Longe...

Toby Stephens captures the row violence and

terrible unpredictibility of Stanley Kowalksi.

./ John Peter, Sunday Times

A stupendous, harrowing performance of one of

the great American ploys of the century. .. a proud,

moving, generous and unforgettable experience.


Michael Coveney, Observer

Decent, sensitive but finally underwhelming ...

Lange brings Blanche's prettified, remaindered

gentility... to full fruition , but this is a first, not a

premier, division assault.

, 6


or wharever incurs her wrath, could, in less talented hand s, be little more than risible, defining fixat ions; a kind of easy shon-hand approach to characte risation. McDonagh is too sk ilful a dramatist to fa ll inro that trap and his cha racters' foibles and eccentricities throb with conviction. These are real people who, in the course of events, you grow to know and to understand. They're given fl esh and blood by a truly sensational cast, including Gary Lydon as the refl ecti ve Babbybobby, who, alone, seems to understand Billy and his problems, but is equally possessed by a v ic ious streak; John Rogan as the island 's loca l no-nonse nse doctor, and Doreen Hepburn as Johnn ypateenmike's robust 90 year足 old liquot-imbibing mother. (There is, it has to be sa id, no way Ms Hepburn convinces as a 90 yea r-o ld , but let that pass.) The star of the show, though, is young Ruaidhri Con toy as Cr ippled Billy. Though Billy is perceived by the islanders as someone whose appearance might se riously challenge the Elephant Man in the looks depanment, Conroy defie s initial expec tations by appearing as a deeply se nsitive young man who, despite his deformities (and a hacking cough), has a rathe r angelic appearance his nearest and dearest have reso lu te ly blinded themselves to. Just because one is deform ed on the outsid e, says Billy, a person isn't necessarily ugly and crippled inside. Conroy's innocent and appealing face reflects Billy's decent, but tonured soul - onl y no one on lnishmaan can see it. Conroy, who has worked in TV and in film s, is making hi s stage debut in The Cripple of Inishmaan. And what a spectacular debut it is. Whil e actor and author each owe the other a measure of his success, bot h are equall y indebted to designer Bob Crowley for his evocative set, and to di rector Nicholas Hymer for the sea mless, unobtrusive and entertaini ng way he has brought thi s funny and touching tale to life. On no account should you miss it.


hoever you are,' says Blanche DuBois in the most quoted line in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Des ire , 'l have always depended on the kindness of strange rs.' When two-time Holl ywood Osca r-winner Jessica Lange bra vely decided to make her deb ut as a stage actress in the 1992 Broadway rev ival of this famous drama, she could not, alas, depe nd on the kindn ess of the critics - the majority of whom boiled her in oil. Mind you, having see n that particular production, Ms Lange - who wasn't all that bad - didn't reall y stand a chance. For starters, he r director, Grego ry Mosher, managed to defuse the play's explos ive potential by muffing all the big moments - including the

heart-rending final scene in which Blanche is taken of( to the local nut -house. Nor, surpri singly, was Lange given much to play off in Alec Baldwin's Stanley Kowal ski. On paper, at any rate, you'd imagine the most famous of the Baldwin brothers to be perfect casting as Williams' brutal working-class Po lack. But all that emerged was an overgrown college- kid with attitude ra rher than the dange rous sexual animal the role calls for.

A SrreetcM N am~ . .i De.!i ire: ToO:' SC";Ph.:> Tti rmdjess ica Lange.

At London' s Haymarket Thea tre, Will iams' great pla y, under the guidance of Peter Hall, breathes more easily - though not, it has to be said, \vithout the occasional wheeze. In her London debut, Jess ica Lange (who has since done a TV version of the New York prod uction) is a lot more assu red than she was on Broadway where vulnerability was her strongest asset - borne , no doubt, out of the negat ive critical reac tion she receiv ed, as well as the kind of tentativeness you'd expect from a movie actress goi ng 'legit' for the very first time. In her third crack at one of the most demanding female roles written this century, Lange adds to her portrayal of Williams' dispossessed Southern belle both humour and an underl ying voyeu ristiC sexuality. Being under the same roof as the sexually rampant Stanley and her pregnant sister Stell a, clearly turns her on. All of Blanche's ot her traits are present and cor rect: an in ability to confront reality, the nos talgiC yearning for Southern gentility, an OVert snobbishness , the panic attacks, the need for male companionship , the overwhelming desire to be noticed and admi red, and, of course, th e suppressed guilt arising from the suicide she induced in her young husband after discovering his homosexuality . Though Lange le aves us in no doubt she cal' be as much an iron butterfl y as a fluttering moth. the one aspect in her performance that strains cred ibility relates to her physical appea rance.

T h, ' lI~h h r ~ ~ h L n~ ua l'c ; [' e~b volum es, her f Ke -ht1\\ , li n Ie c\'l,l"nce of the encroac hmg I11 JJJ tO ~ ,,; BI,lnche " he.,s iveiy fears. Thus, wh en her ~ent km a n L lIe r Mitch turns an unflattering nJ kc·J I l ~h l bulb ontO her face , what he sees is a b,, _utiful lI'oman in her pr im e rather th an the li neJ remmtnts of a Southern belle ra vaged by bo<-, :~ and promiscuity. As a res ult one of the most powerful moments in the pl"y fail s to have the impact it should. Th ough th e clean -cut, patrician Toby Stephens is miS-cd' t as Stanley Kowa lksi, he's a good enough actor to convey a sense of what Stan Ie, , hould be. In the end, though, lashings "t j ,, ' i~ lk r ,\I' edt and the butch way he cups his [hurnr m d forefinger around a cigarette, are merek (,,,metlc substitutes for rampant :e' " <[ cron e. 'Dnn' t hang back with the brUle,,' BLm ch e impl,)r"s her love -struck sister Stell" . 3r" e'hens, however, is more Brutus th an brute; " H ue-blood undernea th whose occasional Viol en t " uthu rsrs lurks a nice guy, incapab le ,If the rape h~ t triggers Blanche's descent into madness. It's I n intelligent, conscientious enough performance - but it comes from the brain rather than the gut and lacks the one qu ality Sta nley has to have: a se nse of danger. As Stell a, th e all -too-willing and pliable \'Ictlm of Stanl ey's inse nsitivity, Imoge n Stubbs man<lges to endow one of Williams' more pastel k mal e creations with eno ugh primary colours to "revent her disap['ear ing into William Dudley's eXc)tic, but somew hat cra mped New O rleans ten ement setting. A masoc hist manque who thrives c)n her husband's boorishness and, clearly, (.In the total satifact ion they both derive from thelr thriving sex life, Stubbs' Stella triumphantl y su cceeds in express ing the agonising dil emm a of a wo man who cares for her sister and sym pathises with her tragic, heart­ h eaking plight, but wh,) cherishes her marriage more. Th e onl y other cha racter of consequence, M itch, a gentleman in every sense of the wo rd and Blanche's last hope for marriage and respectability, is excellentl y played by Christian Burgess. While it is Stanley's 'deliberate cruelty' that resul ts in l3lanch e's final dow nfall, one of the great ironies of this extraordinary play is that it is Mitch who inflicts the mos t pa in on her. Though at times Pete r Hall's direc ti on tends to ove r-s tate the off-s tage noises - such as the ear-s"litt ing sounds of pass ing stree tc ars - he underplJY< the stifling heat that hangs heavy ()ver New O rleans' El ys ian Fields in th e height of summer. He 3.lso misses the chill at the core of one of Will,1ms' supreme inspirations: the appearance of a Mex ican fl owe r sell er selling her wares to the refrain of 'Flores para los muertos .. .' Nor does he find the poignancy in the brief but lelling scene betwee n Blanche and an embarrassed young newspaper boy she invites into th e hou se. For the res t, though, Hall makes effec tive use of the many musical insertions called for by the tex t, and manages, leisurel y but inex orably,

What the papers ay .. . ELSINORE National Theatre, Lytteltan to confirm that the pl ay's eleve n scenes shape themselves in to on e of the greatest American plays eve r written. s both parts of Robe rt Lepage 's The Seve n Streams of the River O ta provided me with the two most memorable evenings I spent in a theatre in 1996. it is disheartening to hav e to report th at my dislike of ELsinore, hi s one-man ons laught on Hamlet, is in exact proportion to my admiration of Seven Streams. There is not a singl e m0ment in this 11 0 minute canter through the greatest play eve t written that sheds fresh light on the complex character c)f the Prince of Denmark or illuminates any aspect of the famous text.



Paul Taylor, Independent

If you removed all the technicalities, Lepage's

creepily allectless performance might put you in

mind of someone who had gone mad and now

imagined he was Peter Sellers, who had , in

turn, gone mad and now imagined he was the

entire cast of Hamlet. Lepage paradoxically, as

Sellers often did, gives you the disturbing

feeling that there is nothing inside.


Robert Gore·Langton, Express

Elsinore is infinitely preferable to yet another

routine rep version of Hamlet. It's also further

proof that this weird and wacky Canadian is

quite incapable of creating dull theatre.


Clare Bayley, The Times

A sort of Shakespearean Kind Hearts and

Coronets, where much of the enioyment comes

from seeing how Lepage transforms himself. His

thesis is that at the heart of Hamle~s moral crisis

is a lack of passion . So it is with Elsinore.


Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph

An established exercise in failing to come to

terms with Shakespeare's endlessly tantalising

and elusive play. But it has ta be admitted that

a failure by Robert Lepage is a good deal more

interesting than most people's successes.


Robert Butler, Independent on Sunday

Lepage is not very good at speaking Shakespeare.

He can sound like Peter Sellers with a head cold..

It adds an unintentional layer of irony when

Lepage-as-Hamlet gives advice to the players on

how to speak. Elsinore makes a spectacular

introduction to state-of-the-art theatre wizardry. It

iust seems odd to involve Shakespeare.

X Roben Lepage as Homlet in Elsinore.

Relying heavily on an ingeni ous high-tec h se t (by designer Carl Fillion) whose cen tral panel-cum-screen tilts and changes shape and on which va ri ous images are prOjected, Lepage's one­ man show ultimate ly appeals more to the eye than the ear. In a lifetime of reviewing more Hamlets than is healthy, never, it has to be sa id, have I encountered Shakespea re's ve rse more ineptl y or unpoe tically spoken . There were times, ev en, when Lepage managed to make som e of most famous lines ever written totally unintelligible. To compound the situation, th e se veral deliberate voca l di stortions, courtesy of sound engineer Claude Cy r, only made an intolerable evening worse. As Lepage al so offers Re"der' s Dige st characterisa tions of Poloniu s, Claudius, Ophelia, Gertrude et at. the fmal impression is of a brilliant director Ilwn-goa led by a humungous ego trip. Els inore does nothing to confirm his reputati c,n as ,)ne ()f the most exc iting creative talents in the;'tre [, ~V. QU itL' tr'mkll', I ( )und mos t of thi s exercise in s e l f- a _ ~ r;\n , !i5 cment excrutiating.

Lyn Gardner, Guardian

It is on exercise in style, technology and the uses

of space in which tilting panels and sleight of

hand deceive the eye. But they never pierce the

heart. For all its self-conscious humour it is

wizardry without enchantment, stage manage­

ment, not theatre. The play, alas, is definitely

not the thing .


John Peter, Sunday Times

Elsinore tells you nothing about Elsinore,

Hamlet, or even Lepage: it is an experiment,

beating its high-tech, luminous wings in vain.


Ian Shuttleworth, Financial Times

Lepage has constructed his show from the

outside in, and its exterior dazzles so much that

we can see scarcely anything of the meditations

which may be behind it ...a production which is

at once unenlightening and unmissable.


Nick Curtis, Evening Standard

Even theatrical geniuses can have all-days, and

this soulless solo version of Hamiel must have

been conceived by Robert Lepage on a

particularly bad one.


Shoun Usher, Daily Mail

Ingenious ... has striking touches.



Keep an eye out for these productions opening in and around the West End this month. Theatre THE WOLVES

Paines Plough will present Michael Punter's pl ay fro m 5 March at the Bride well Theatre. The ac ti on is se t in the Republic of Byrav ia 足 a ble ak , cold land - ru n until recentl y by a dic tator who even pi cked the loca l foot ball tea m. A surpr ise vis itor arr ives o ne night in a snow storm , bringi ng with h im the possibili ty of a brighter futur e. Direc ted by S imon Usher with designs by A nthony Lambie and music by Gary Rya n.

who con verge o n a bachelo r pad where they trace the ir pursuit of ' the A merican Dteam' th rough drugs, sex and a bizarre camaraderie. Wilson Milam d irec ts for The Peter Ha ll Company. O pens at the O ld Vic o n 24 March. KING LEAR

In his last prod uction as Roya l Natio nal Theatre supremo, Richard Eyre directs Shakespeare's most formidable tragedy. S tars Ian Holm as Lear. Opens 27 March at the Cottes loe.



Bernard Hai tink cond ucts Graham Vick's award- winning production at The Roya l O pera H ouse. John Tomlinson sings the role of Sachs, the poet-cobbler who is the fulcrum of both the indi vidual and c ivic dramas that play themse lves out in Nuremberg on Midsummer's day. Thomas A llen is Beckmesse t, the tow n clerk who is determined to win the hand of aristocrati c Eva (N ancy G ustafso n) by fair mea ns or fo ul. Opens 15 March.


Follo wing its success ful inaugural season in 1996, Ca rlton and Donm ar launch an expa nded Four Cornets season of new writing that brings new plays and compa nies fro m all reac hes of Bri tai n and Irela nd to the West End . The producti on - a su rrea l and darkly comic nightmare set in a junkshop in Wales on a stormy n ight - mark s the world premiere of Simon Harris' play d irected by Mi chae l S heen for T hin Language Thea tre Company. Opens 13 March at the Donmar.


By Dan ish composer Peter Heise and pe rfo rmed in En gl ish by Universit y College Opera. The story is abo ut the mysterious murde r of King Erik V in med ieva l De nm ark. Heise and his librettist studied ballads fro m the time , together with other documentary evidence to reconstruct the ci rcumstances of the King's death . Directed by Prudenti al Award winner Robert C heva ra. Musica l d irectio n by Da vid Drummo nd . At the Bloomsbury Theatre 17 to 21 March .


The fi rst of 12 plays in repe rtory by The Peter H all Co mpan y at The O ld Vic. Hatley G ran ville-Barke r's play looks at sex and po litics in Edwa rdian England. The play d id not achi eve full pu blic perform ance until 1936 due to the Lord C h ambe rlain 's ban in 1907. Direc ted by Peter Hall and starring M ic hael Pen n ingto n and Felic ity Kenda l. O pens 14 March . CLOUD NINE


Dav id Rabe's pl ay foll ows the fo rtunes of a writer, twO casting d irectors and a bit-pa rt actor

I 8



G raham Vick's EN O prod uctio n of Pucc ini 's pe renni al weepie is at the Coliseum fro m 14 March. Susan Bullock sings the abandoned ge ish a with Ethna Robinson as S uzuki. Three tenors alternate as Pink erton - Julian G avin , David Rendall and Bonave ntura Bottone 足 with Arwe\ Huw Morgan and Ashley Ho lland sharing the role of Sharpless. Michael Llo yd conducts (A lex Ingram from 1 May).

A new play at the Royal Court's Circle Space (A mbassadors T heatre) takes a look at a woman who be lieves fanatica lly in famil y values, yet spends her afternoo ns with strange men in seed y ho tel rooms. Written by Martin C rimp and directed by Tim A lbe ry. Ope ns 12 March.

To m Cairns directs C aryl C hu rch ill 's provoc足 ati ve and comic study of sex ual politics fo r The Peter Hall Company. T he play premiered on Broad way in 1981 and ran fo r two years, es tabli shing C hurchill as one of our lead ing dramatists. Ope ns 21 March at The O ld Vic .


Pucc ini 's powerful story of the fi ery tem pered, jealo us ope rat ic di va Tosca (Maria G uleghin a), her artist lo ver Cavaradoss i (Keith O lsen) and the corrupt police chief Sca rpi a (Sergei Leiferkus/S imo n Es tes ), is revi ved by A ndtew S inclair at The Royal Opera House under the musical direc tio n of Edward Do wnes. Opens 5 March.



ENO's new ve rsion by director-c horeograp her Marth a C larke, (fo unding member of Phil o bus Dance Thea tre ) is m e first time Gluck's masterpiece has been mounted at the Coli seum. O rpheus will be sung by counter-tenor M ichae l C hance and Les ley G arrett takes o n the rol e of Euryd ice with He len Williams as Amo r. Jane G love r cond ucts. O pens 3 March.

Luc Bondy's producti on of S trauss' one act opera, first seen at th e Sa lzburg Festival, caused a sensa tio n when it opened at Covent Ga rden in 1995. Catherine Malfit ano return s in the t itl e role, while Ken neth Riegel and Anja Silja repeat their acc laim ed perfo rmances as Herod and Herod ias. C hristop h von Dohnanyi , Prin cipal Conductor of the Philharmon ia, returns to cond uct an unmissab le seri es of pe rfo rmances. Ope ns 29 March.


SI ' rut HY AU\, ERTIS F.H







"A DELIGHT" E slh:r .'\e" s muJ ~ Iail

Surrey .. \ th ... rti'iCT




__ 0 fOlicre.s




directs a cast that is HEAVEN SENT. This is two hours of frothy fun" \V I SU"'iCX ( ill:zctk

"A RlOTOUS EVENING full of slapstick humour.

WONDERFUL" .' ewcRstlc Joum nl


the audience were tickled pink by this HILARIOUS



Edinburgh Evening New






It's that time of year again, when the sound of gold envelopes being ripped open reverberates around the West End with the words, and the winner is ... ' But what does it all mean ... ?


f there were awards for the best awards , o ne hes itates ro think where Britain's thearre tro phies would rank. In c,'mmercial terms, Britain's pri zes ma[[er h ardl y at all: She L (A ~S Me \\'0n five O livi er Awards two years ago, and still finished its yearlo ng run as a rotal financi al loss. But even as barometers c>f the year's best - not to

mention the enterrainment value of the programmes themselves - our

local laurels come up sho rr. After a ll, It 'S a fc' c, lhardv ente rprise indeed that conSistently denies Maggie Smith a n0mination - she was passed over (or Olivier no minat ions for both Three Tall Women and Talking

Heads - when she' s not only surefire box office but conSistently gives outstanding perfor mances. (Oddly, sh e \\'as nominated for The Importance of Being Earnest, h er o ne stage petformance in rec ent yeats to elicit less than general accl aim.) Broadway ca n't get through a Tony se ason without some S0 rr of hoo-ha, and it's a me as ure o( the low interest in Britain 's nearest equivalent - the O liviers - that our awmds' ow n ecc entricities often pass without comment. This fact is due to the difference in clo ut carried by such awatds o n either side of the Atlantic. As everyone knows, the N ew York theatre lives for Tony Awards, which is why the busiest Broadway week of the yem is inevitably the last week ptior to th e eligibility cut-off point. (The equivalent in film terms is the glut of movie o penings Maggie Smith dreaming of


acolade for her Talking Heads. Right, 'Larry' ca~ (s


eye over

the proceedings.

around Christmas.) Season after season tells a tale of a last-m inute Broad way entry copp ing a top prize, as Nin e famously did in 198 2 when it crept in at the eleventh ho ur and proceeded to steal the thunder tho ught to be reserved (or Dreamg;irls. The up side of the New York scena rio is that the To ny h yste ria generates some excitement for the theatre, not to mention em barrassme nt: who will ever forget Kathleen Turner two seasons ago rising at the crack of dawn ro recite the no min ees alo ngside Jeremy Irons o nly ro find that everyone in her Broadway production of Jean Coctea u's

Indiscretions had bee n no minated , except for Turn er. This past seaso n Vi ctorNicwria probab ly got more press o ut of Julie Andrews' angry disavowal of her nomination than the show would have received if it had been no minated in those other categories where it didn't deserve a men tion. Th e d"wn side o( N ew York is that in a c ulture geared ro awards, you're su nk if you don't win them. Les Liaisons Dangereuses to rave reviews in 1987 but couldn't ga ther the Fences, with the resulr that a Roy al Shakespeare

opened on Broadway Tonys that went


Company sello ut was mo re or less regarded as a fl op. Thi s past season, neirher Seven Guiwr.~ no r Duned Child surv ived heing shut out of the to[, 20 APPLA USE fvVI.RCH 997

awards (Seven G~liwrs won one prize, for

inconsi stency of the Oliviers that wo rks against

featured actor), leaving Terrence McNally's

its credibility, whether Alan Bennett is being


pitted against Jason Don o van (I) for Best Actor


Clms doe clem victor - and, nor

acciJenrally, the o nl y Best Play nominee still

in a Musical o r Entertainment in [992

running nine mo nrhs later.

(Bennett won), or Niall Buggy is winning for

Lo ndon should count itself lucky that its

Best Comedy Performance - anorhet

theatre beats to a rhythm that has nothing to

meaningless category - when his quite sobering

do with prizes: A Streetcar Named Desire, with

work in Dead Funny should have brought him

Jessica Lange ,w ill no doubt be a success desp ite

that year's prize for Best Supporting Actor.

receiving no nominations whatsoe ver; ditto

One year, there's a prize for Most Prom ising

Talking Heads. But one cannor help wishing

Newco mer; the next, Best Musical Production.

that if the English are going to dole out awards,

Some years, there are twO directing prizes - one

they at le as t do so with some inre lligence and

for plays, one for musicals - other years (like

consistency. As everyone knows , the impact of

this one) only one, with the peculiar result that

anyone awards ceremo ny in this country is

Des McAnuffs high-velOCi ty rethink of Tomm y

diffu sed by the competing claims on the

is competing against Anthony Page's sctupulous

rublic's attention of The Evening Standard

re-exa minatio n of A Doll's House. As it

luncheo n, held every November, fo llo wed by

harpens, the most deserving winner, Sam

the Oliviers, once a spring event now

Mendes for Habeas Corpus, wasn't even cited,

repositioned in mid-February. Of the tWO, The

no doubt bec ause he won the award last year for

Standard is ge nerally the more entertaining,

two stagings some way short of the sustained brilliance of Habeas - a show whose entire cast,

not least due to the ineffable Ned Sherrin as emcee (invaluably assisted one recent year by Miriam Margo lyes in pure

like that of the current Donmar Wareho use offering Nine, went entirely,

Roseanne mode) . But as far as its prizes go, predictability rules.

and bizarrely, unmentioned.

[n any given season on e can guess the Standard winners from a more

And what o f this year's shortlist? Well, [ certainly hope Henry

or less predetermined shortlist that tends to favour Maggie Smith, Diana

G oodman (Guys and Dolls) and Ll oyd Owe n (Who's Afraid of Virginia

Rigg, and Felicity Kendal (amo ng the women) in virtually any thing­

Woolf') are meeting ur somewhere for a drink to commiserate being left

Kenda['s Ivanov/Much Ado win

Out o f a set of nom inations that

remains particularly inexplicable ­

embraced most of their

while the male acting prize almost


always goes to a Grand Old Man (If the theatre (this year, Paul


Scofield), or at the very [east to a


rerfo rmer in that tradition (Ian McKellen, Antony Sher). The Best Comedy prize invariably goes


in Tomm y, he of the ample lungs and scant charisma, over Goodman is frankly weird, though vo lume alone has worked wonders for the career o f an earlier Olivier winner, Elaine Paige. As for Owen, his Nick is

to a deeply serious play {'It's in spiring to receive this prize

co lleagues: to cite Paul Keating


having thought [ had written a traged y,' AT[ author Yasmina Reza

undoubtedly the quiet revelati o n of H owa rd Davies' routinely


no isy revival , but since he wasn't

told this past year's audience),

no minated either last year for

while Best Musical is usually

his exemplary supporting

reserved for distinctly ropy American visitors - Kiss of the Spider Woman,

performance in Our Boys, he presumably learned some time ago the

\1ack and Mabel, even (l would argue) Passion, the most recent winne r­

capricious nature of awards.

"" hen th e ha"er, more honest solution might be to give no musical rri : e t all. T h~

O li" le rs are more iconoclastic, which is nice o n those occasions

when ico nocl as m doesn't spill over into idioc y. One doesn't have to be an American based here to

be gratified that Six Degrees of Separation wo n

And then there's James Gillan, the supporting musical performer nominee who gOt the slot that might have gone to any of the ladies in

Nine, to Wayne Cater in Guys and Dolls, o r, indeed, to the wonde rful Ian Bartholomew, Gillan's colleague in Tommy. Instead , Gillan is in the running fo r playing 'second pinball lout' and ensemble, and for

Best Play in [993, since Jo hn Guare's masterwork

understudying Keating. Are prizes now given

had been denied the same award on Broadway in

for crowd scenes or standbys? Was Gillan that

favout of the far inferior Los t In Yonkers. And the

memorably loutish) (N o o ne [spo ke

list of deserving victors of late includes Arcadia,

even remember who he was.) Whatever the



An Inspector Calls, the Declan Donnellan

reaso n for his nomination, his presence

Sweeney Todd, and, yes, She Loves Me.

suggests the creation of a new category in the

Here, tho ugh, one again wonders about the

best Olivier tradition - the James Gillan award

wisd o m of a prize for Best Comedy, when the last

for most prepos terous nominee, which could be

genuine comedy to receive the award was Ray

won in its maiden year by Gillan himself. •

Cooney's Out of Order in 1991. (M)' Night With

Reg, a chilly play about AIDS possessed of a humour one could on ly describe as mordant, is a far more typical 'Best Comedy.') Bur it's the

Me Teer III Anthon), Page's hod), lipped A Doll', House (LOp), and (left) Paul Keating. up for a Best Aewr award for Tommy.


ti A ,(H i 9 97 APP USE 21





Sunset Boulevard

Don't Dress for Dinner

Andrew Uoyd Webbe(s musical is based on Billy Wilde(s 1950's film abaul an ageing silenl movie star plotting her comeback in Ihe film induslry. Pelula Clark leads Ihe cast. Man-Sol 7.45, Mals Thur & Sol 3.00

Marc Camolettl's successful farce abaut attempted adu~ery continues wil h Royce Mills, Michael Sharvell-Martin, Jackie Clar1<e and Jackie Piper. Mon-Fri 8.00, Mal Wed 3.00, Sot 5.00 & 8.30



The Goodbye Girl

The Woman In Black

Gary Wilmot stars as a would-be act or who ends up sharing on apartment with a dancer aHer contusion over its lease. Musical by Neil Simon, Marvin Hamlisch and David lippel. From April 14. Mon-Fri 8.00, Sot 5 .00 & 8.30, Mat Wed 3.00

Ewan Hooper and James Simmons play

the two men embroiled in this extraordi­

nary ghost story. Written by $lephen

Mallalratt from Susan Hill's navel.

Man-Sol 8.00,

Mats Tue 3.00, Sol at 4.00

NAnONAL THEA11IEt In repe rtoire

In repertoire.


direcls Frank Loesse( s classic musical.


Armstrong stars In Arthur Mile(s play,

THE HOMECOMING Roger Micheli revives

Pinte(s tale of jealousy.

LADY IN THE DARK Rarely performed Hart,

Gershwin and We~1 musical.


Martin McDonagh's new play direc ted by

Nicho las Hyfner.

CARDIFF EAST Peler Gin direcls his awn

new play about the di~lIu~oned of Cardiff.

KING lEAR Ian Holm follows the regal

descenf Inla madness, os directed by

Richard Eyre,





One Word Improv

An Inspector Calls


In repertOire .

Eddie Izzard, Steve Fras!' Neil Mullar1<ey and Suki Webster fashion comic skelches from one ward suggestions for a limited season until March 16. This will be Izzard's only appearance in the West End this year. Tue-Sun 8.00

Stephen Daldry's hugely successful revr"al of J. B. Priestley's play In wh ich a mysterious inspector d isrupts a celebra tion at the Biriing residence. Mon-Fri 7.45, Sot 5.00 & 8.1 5, Mals Wed 2.30

Andrew Uoyd Webbe(s musical inspired by T S Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats continues into ~s 16th year. Booking through to April 30. Man-Sat 7.45, Mats Tue & Sot 3.00




Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolt?

Romance Romance

Henry IV Parts 1 and 2

Diana Rigg plays Martha, the frustrated and e xplosive wife of David Suchet's quie!, simmering college professor. The Almeida production of Edward Albee's play runs through until March 22. Man-Sot 7.15, Mats Sot 2.15

West End premiere far Bony Harmlan and KaHh Herrmann's two one-oct musicals entitled The UHfe Comedy and Summe r Shore. Love is In the air. Man-Sot 8.00, Mats Wed, Sat 3.00

TImothy West plays Falstaff to his san Som '

Hal in $lephen Unwin's production of

Shakespeare's history play. Um~ed season

until February 22.

Man-Sat 7.30,

Mats Thur, Sat 2.30


GLOBE In repert oire from May 27: HENRY V Richard Olivier directs Shakespeare's patr1atlc history play with Mark Rylance as the yaung wa"iar-king. THE WINTER'S TALE David Freeman diracts fhe Bard's tale of Leonte's misplaced sexual jealousy.

THE OLD VIC In repertoire from March 4, WASTE The Peter Hall Compony begins ~s residency at The O ld Vic with Haney G ranvllie-Bar1< e(s tale o f fhe downfall of a pol~lcian . Peter Hall diracts. CLOUD NINE Tom Caims directs Caryl Churchill's comic exploration of the resu~s of British imperialism, HURLY BURLY Brl~sh premiere of American writer Dovld Robe's darldy comic portrayal o f four men chasing dreams In Hollywood. THE SEAGUll Peter Hall revives Chekhov's play with Victoria Hamlnan, Fellc~ Kendal and Michael Pennington. PRAYERS OF SHERKIN British premiere of Sebastian Bony's play set in a strict religious commun~ in Ireland.

Starlight Express The 2nd longest running musical in theatre

history is Andrew Uoyd Webbe(s railer-skat­

ing extravagarlZa, inspired by the move­

ment of trains. Directed by Trevor Nunn.

Man-Sat 7.45,

Mats Tue & Sot 3.00




A Streetcar Named Desire

The major rev r"al of the first stage version to include the fam ous songs from Ihe film has now been running for three and a half years. David Gilmore direcls. Man-Sot 7.30, Mats Wed, Sot 3.00

Jessica Lange makes her West End debut

as 81anche Dubois in Tennessee Williams'

claSSic drama. Pefer Hall directs a cast

that also includes Toby Stephens.

Man-Sot 7.45,

Mats Thur, Sot 3,00


Laughter on the 23rd Floor Gene Wilder makes his West End debut in

Nell Simon's comedy revealing the behind­

fhe-scenes mayhem of tap TV shaw.

Directed by Roger Haines.

Man-Sat 8.00,

Mats Wed 2.30, Sot 4.00


The Shallow End Wand premiere of Doug Lucie's play in which behind-the-scenes pal~ical shenanigans dominate the wedding of a medIa mogul's daughfer. UmHed season unfll March 15. Man-Sot 7,30, Mat Sat 3.30

BARBICAN THEAmE: TROILUS AND CRESSIDA Joseph Flennes and Victarla Ham i ~o n star in Shakespeare's rend~ian of a Greek tragedy. AS YOU LIKE IT Niamh Cusack stars in $leven Pimlatt's production, MACBETH Ian Albe ry directs Roger Allam as the ambitious Scot. Prices: £6-£24.50 THE PIT: THE GENERAL FROM AMERICA In Richard Nelson's new play an Am erican gene ral makes a troglc mistake, THE WHITE DEVIL Webste(s Jacobean thriller directed by Gale Edwards. THREE HOURS AFTER MARRIAGE Eighteenth c entury farce in which an old man's wand is ruined by marTiage. Prices: £10-£17 StMARTIN'S

The Mousetrap Murder in a remote hotel is the SOurce of the w and's longest run. ~'s now the 45th year for the Agat ha Christie fhriller and people are still trying to find out wh o did it. Man-Sot 8 .00, Mats Tue 2.45, Sot 5.00 SAVOY

Plunder In Ben Travers' farce, Griff Rhys Jones and Kevin McNally are deeply in involved in a fraudulent attempt to gain an inheritence whe n Sora Crowe appears on the scene. Man-Sot 7.30, Mals Thur, Sot 2.30





Reduced Shakespeare Co

The Phantom of the Opera

Les Mlserables


The Reduced Shakespeare Company presenl The Complete Wor1<s of William Shakespeare (Abridged) and The Complete History of America (Abridged). Tue-Sot 8.00, Mals Thur 3.00, Sat 5.00, Sun 4.00

Andrew Uoyd Webbe(s musical fallOWS the tale o f the masked man who haunts the Paris Opera House. Now booking to December 1997, Man-Sat 7.45, Mats Wed & Sot 3.00

Baublll, Schonberg & KIetzmer m usical evoking fhe tragedy o f the French Revolufian. A few seats are available for this long-rurY)er. Man-Sat 7.30, Mats Thur & Sot 2.30

Pete Townshend's story of the deaf, dumb a nd blind boy with a penchant for pinball stars Paul Keaflng as Tommy and KJm Wilde as his mother. Mon-Thur 8.00, Fri 5.30 & 830, Sot 3.00 & 8.30





Beauty and Ihe Beast


Blood Brothers


A beautiful gin falls in love with a beast m usical version of the classic tairytole fealures lyrics by Tim Rice. From April 29. Man-Sot 7.30, Mats Wed & Sot 3.00

Lionel Bart's classic tunes retum to the West End in Sam Mendes' major revival of the musical version of Dickens' tale. Robert Lindsay now stars as Fogln. Man-Sat 7.30, Mots Wed, Sat 2,30

Willy Russell's award winning musical foilows fhe plight o f two lir.terpudlian brofhers separated at birth buf destined to meelagain. Man-Sot 7.45, Mats TI,ur 3. 00, Sat 4.00

The Buddy Holly $lory. His life story Is threaded amongst the songs that Influenced a g e neration before his untimely death. Over 2900 performances. Tue-Thur 8 .00, Frl 5.30 & 8.30, Sat 5.00 & 8.30, Sun ot 4.00






Jesus Christ Superstar

The School For Wives


British premiere of a full staging of the Broadway musical based on Fellini's 8 1/2. A famou, film directar travels to ~aly 10 his life. Until Mar 8. Man-So t 7.30, Mals Wed, Sot 3.00

Gale Edwards directs Andrew Uoyd Webber and Tim Rice's musical based on the adu~ life o f Christ. Songs Include f Dont Know How fo Love Him . Man-Sat 7.45, Mals Wed, Sat 2.30

Peter Hall directs Peter Bowles, Eric Sykes and Daniel Betts In Moliere's sotlrical comedy In which a guardian hopes to many his c harge. Um~ed season. Man-Sat 8.00, Mats Wed 3.00, Sat 5.00

Brian Conley stars In the muslcallnspired by the life of AI Jolson, Ihe wand's most famous vaudevillian and star of the first "talkie". Until March 22. Tue-Sot 7.30, Mats Wed, Thur, Sat 3.00

who lives in 0 bewitched castle. Disney's

resolve his


with the women in





Four Corners

By Jeeves

Martin Guerre


Festival of three plays highlighting new wor1<s from theatre companies from the wider shores of the British Isles. limited season March 13-April 19. Man-Sot 8 .00, Mats Sot 4.00

Andrew Uoyd Webber and Alan Ayckbaum's musicol is based on PG Wodehouse's tales o f Bertie Wooster and h~ effortlessly superior butler, Jeeves. Man-Sot 7.45, Mat Wed, Sat 3.00

The latest from Boublil and Schonberg, writers of Miss Solgon and Les Miserables, is based on the folk story of a man w ho relums from a war and c laims to be a woman's lang lost husband. Man-Sot 7.45, Mats Thur, Sot 3.00

Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay and Ken Stott play fhree friends whose relationship is turned upside down when one of them buys a war1< of modem art. Tue-Sat 8.00, Mats Wed 3.00, Sat, Sun 5.00




Miss Saigon


Smokey Joe's Cafe

Boublil & Schonberg 's musical about a G .1. who falls in love with a Vietnamese giri continues its amazing run . Now in its eighth year, the show is booking to December. Man-Sot 7.45, Mats Wed & Sot 3.00

Andrew Uoyd Webber's musical inspired by T S Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Prac tical Cots con~nues into ijs 16th year. Booking through to September. Man-Sot 7.45, Mats Tue & Sot 3.00

The Broadway revue inspired by the songs of Leiber and $loller gets ijs West End premiere. Songs include Heartbreak Hofel and Hound Dog. $lars members of the o riginal American cast. Man-Sot 8,00, Mats Thur. Sot 3.00

Please nofe: All informatio n In , this guide is subj ect to change without prior notice. Please check all details befare m aking your booking. t = Registered charity. This information is prepared by The SocIety of london ThaolTe


NO BOOKING FEE ON Starlight, Grease, Miss Saigon, Don't Dress For Dinner, The Mousetrap, Woman In Black,

Buddy, An Inspector Calls, Oliver!, Martin Guerre

22 APPlAUSE MARC H i 997

London Office: The Applau5e Building, 68 Long Acre, London WC2 E 9JQ S. Albans Office: PO Box I . S, Albans ALI 4E D

HetItJ ReaderJ. It's Spring at last and the West End is finall y waking up after winter with some gorgeous new productions. I just love the idea of Caroline O'Connor (right) and Mark Adams com ing together again after the wonderful Mack & Mabel to star in Romance

Romance at the Gielgud. I have to say though, I'm not sure how romantic Ca roline is. After getting married only last May she's spe nt months in Australia playing Anita in West Side Story parted from her hubby. All this will be rect ified however - he's in the band at Smokey Joe's Cafe so he'll be just round the corner. Maybe romance isn't dead after all. I just ha ve to men tion a show that is sure to be the highlight of this year's Covent Garden Festival in May and June. Milliners beware as Beach Blanket Babylon (bel ow ) sa ils into the Arts Theatre with the most incredible hats you have ever seen. The show is coming ove r from San Franc isc o where I was lucky enough to see it in action. Believe me fo lks, this cult revue is ca mper than a Matron's n ightie and is sure to

be the hottest ticket in town. Poor Eve Pollard ... Ladies Day at Ascot will never be the sa me aga in. We ha ve pulled out all of the stops again this month to bring you lo ts of exciting offers covering a bewilder ing amount of theatre ground. Many of you h ave asked us to come up with more comedy - so now there's no exc use as Eddie Izzard and chums breeze into the Albery for a C lub Night of hilarious improv isa tion on 16 March (the last night, so it shou ld be fun !). Plus there are lots of Royal ex periences to be had at the Roya l O pera House and the Royal National Theatre and a host of drama and comedy that you will not want to miss. I hope you enjoy this month's club pages, and I hope to see you very soon. C heers I I

ClirtcJtlJjJlier Biffff11t4 Club Host

offers Diary Travel

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24 25 26-27 28 28 29

Theatre Information Service


ABOUT THE CLUB As a reader of Applause magazine you are automatically a member of the Applause Theatre Club and can enjoy every theatre and travel offer featured in these pages. To take up any of the offers simply call the Theatr' Hotline..,n 0171 路 312 191)[ or the Tr(\vrl dnd Ev 'nts H()tiinc "n 0 1727841115 . The Theatre Club Nights often allow you to meet the cast, attend a lecture or simply have drinks after the show with other club members. The Show of the Month offers unbeatable prices arranged specially for readers of Applause. You also have the opportunity to travel far and wide experiencing a host of exciting cultural activities.

MARCH 1997


@.vents diary * denotes a new event



3-31 March, M-Th 7.45pm Th 3pm, Sa 4pm


S&C Carlisle Line tour (via York, leeds, Skipton and Settle)

15 March, B.32am

see Feb issue

* One Word Improv

16 March, Bpm


Art in Ven ice (3-night break in the most remarkable Italian City)

21-24 March

see Feb issue

Ivanov (starring Ra lph Fiennes)

25 March, 7.30pm

see Feb issue

26 March, Bpm


4-5 April


7 Apri l, 7.30pm


B April, 7.30pm


9 April, 7.30pm


26 April


2-4 May


9-12 May


19-20 May

see Feb issue

20 May, Bpm



* Blood Brothers


* The School for W ives

* Parisi an Impressionist Break * Anastasia * Waste * Lady in the Dark * Much Ado About Nothing * Alan Ayckbourn Premiere * Northern Italy

Giverny/Paris Monet weekend (by Eurostar)

* Smokey Joe's Cafe

Giverny /Rouen Monet weekend (via coach to Monet's summer garden) 6-7 June

24 APPlAUSE {VV\RCH 1997

(note dote & price change)

see Feb issue


& travel

NORTHERN ITALY Take in the beauty of some exce ptional buildings and art in three of the most picturesque towns of Northern Italy. Staying at the H o tel Mantegna you will see the Du cal Palace in Mantova, the Piazza del Comune in Cremona and visit the renaissance to wn of Sabbioneta.

PARISIAN IMPRESSIONIST BREAK Travel by Eurostar to th e heart of Paris, where you will stay in a ho tel with easy access to the thre e art ga lleries scheduled o n this trip: the Orangerie, the Marmotton and the Musee d'Orsay, homes to some of the world's finest impressio nist paintings.



Enj oy Scarborough's splendid scenery and sa nd y bays while staying in en-suite accommodati o n at the Cro wn Hotel. Included are tickets to the premiere performance of Alan Ayckbourn's latest play, to which he is currently putting the finishing touches.

Enj o y the rock 'n' roll music of Le iber and Stoller ('Hound Dog' , 'Jailho use Roc k', 'Stand By Me' ) at the Prince of Wales Theatre, with top price seats and a two-course meal at one of a choice of re staurants nearby.

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING Enjoy a special day in Stratford-upon-Avon and join in the annual Shakespeare birthday celebratio ns. First, ride on o ne of Guide Friday's ope n-top bus tours through Stratford visiting five fascinating locatio ns linked to th e bard. You will round off a great day by enjoy ing stalls seats at the Royal S hakespeare Theatre for Much Ado About Nothing, starring Alex Jennings and Siobhan Redmond .

Iv\ARCH 1997


he' 101 i

WASTE Peter Hall directs Felicity Kendal

(pictured) and Michael PenningtOn in Harley Granville-Barker's powerful play whose twin subjects, sex and politiCS, resulted in the play being ba nned in 1907.

TueS da Y

8Apri/, 7.30pm


The ultimate comedy improvisatio n experience starring Eddie Izzard, S tephen Frost, Neil Mullarkey & Suki Webster.

"Genius - on tap" Mewd)' Maker

ALBERY THEATRE St Martin's Lane, Lond on WC2


re offer

312 1991

ANASTASIA j o in Applause at the opening night of The Roya l Ballet's A nastasia starring Leanne Benjamin and Adam Cooper.

Mondav7A .T

" ... a triumphant restoration of a tremendous ballet"

. pril, 745. . Pm.

ROYAL OPER Covent Gard A HOUse en, london WC2

Financial Times

evenings,7. 45 pm

Monday-1"hursday& saturday 4pm wednesday 3pm

PHOEN\){ THEA-r:~ondon WC2 Charing CroSS Roa ,

f the Month BLOOD BROTHERS Willy Russell's musical continues to de light a udi ences with th e ta le o f Liverpudlian twins separa ted at bi rth and reunited with trag ic consequences. 9 AprilJ.30pm THE SCHOOL FOR WIVES

~~;:a!~~south bank

C lass ic Molie re comedy di rected by Peter H a ll and starri ng Peter Bowles,

LYTTLETON Royal Natlona london SE1

~ i C Sykes, Carme n Sdvera and

Henry McGee.

LADY IN THE DARK Moss H art, Ira Gershwin and Kurt Weill's exceptional and neglected musica l is finally brought to Lo ndon by the Roya l N at ional Thea tre, with Maria Friedman (pictured) in the

Wednesday 26 March, Bpm


starring ro le o riginally crea ted by Ge rtrude Lawrence.


6,eeAD1l l Y THeATRe

enman Street, london W1 CH 1


WIN A WALK-ON PARI' IN A WEST END SHOW Have you ever dreamed of treading the boards in London's West End 2... Well, Applause would like to offer you a once-in-a-lifetime chance to shine with the stars. This month's competition gives you an opportunity to win a walk-on part in one of London's best loved plays. The Royal National Theatre's acclaimed production of J B Priestley's classic thriller

An Inspector Calls returned to the West End aher its huge success on Broadway. Stephen Daldry's superlative

production has won a total of 19 awards in London and New York . If you are the lucky winner you will have the opportunity to join the cast for a truly memorable day. You will meet the cast before rehearsals with the resident director. Then to make-up and costume before going on stage for this rather special Saturday matinee performance in April. In the audience will be four of your friends and family siHing in the best seats in the house to cheer you on. And aherwards the cast will present you with a signed copy of the playas a memento of your day. To win this fabulous prize simply write your answers to the questions below on a postcard and return with your name, address and daytime phone number to Win A Walk-On Port Competition, Applause Magazine, Applause Building, 68 Long Acre, London WC2E 9JQ. Good Luck! 1) Name the surname of the family at the centre of An Inspector Calls. 3) What does the

2) On which Iris Murdoch novel did Priestley base his 1963 ploy2

J B stand for? 4) Name one cast member of the recent revival of J B Priestley's Dangerous Corner at the Whitehall Theatre.


to these winners

of our previous competitions: Mrs J Diprose of Hextable winner of

November's Cats competition and Sue Bell of Cleveland, winner of our December crossword competition .

pllzzlepage MIXED MUSICAlS Amongst this jumble of leHers there are the titles to 14 well known musical shows past and present. They read in a single line up, down, diagonally, forward or backward.

Answers at bottom of page




Find a word which can be added

These three phrases are

aher one word and before the other

anagrams of three famous

word to make two new words e.g.

names (clue: there's nothing


like a dame l )




) RAil







路SUOA3 YI!P3 : 661~ OUOIO 'yjlWS a!660w SWVll~VNV 路,(0ld :~o~ :ulopn) :a6olS 路SIO) 'awow 'uOiSSOd 'a600J~S'j009MoyS 'ssay) ' jaJ09o)'asoaJ9 ',(wwol 's lloO pUO s,(n9 'JaAIIO 'uosl0r'lasnoJo) 'jolawo) SlV'lsnw a3XlW




C!)of the month

please address your letters to The Editor, Applause,

The Applause Building, 68 Long Acre, London WC2E 9JQ.

Each month we will give two tickets to a top West End show for the best letter published.

SAVE £6 Retail price

£26 Applause price £20

This month's Star Letter gets two tickets to Sunset Boulevard.

Dear Sit; Following Clive Hirshhorn's 'The Day I Met Tennessee Williams' in the January issue of Applause, I would like to recount my meeting with the great man. I was in New York for a friend's appe arance with Victor Spinetti in La Grosse Valise - whic h was unsuccessfu l to say the least (it lasted one performance !). I was back stage after the show co nsoling my friend when o ut of no where stepped Tennessee Williams loo king extremely pained. Just as Victor came into the room he sp luttered in a ve ry exaggerated Southern drawl: 'Victor, I have and will always come to see you in anything and eve rything ... but please, don't be in thi , agai n.' It's ce rta in ly a

Th is brand new double CD recording of Frank Loesser's masterpiece is a musical- lovers must. A unique and definitive recording feat uring the three so ngs written speciaJl y for the film, a restored number from the original show and lots of rarely heard verses. A terrific cast includ es Frank's own daughter Emily as Sarah, Gregg Edelman as Sky, Tim Flavin as Nathan and Kim Cresswell as Adel aide,

meeting I'll never forget. M Bertrand , Dulwich

Call now on 0171 312 1991 (Please note there will be a 0.50 charge for p&p. Please allow 28 da ys for delivery.)

Dear Sit; I am currently researching prod uctio ns l)f Oscar Wilde's Salome for my dissertat ion and wondered wheth e r App!'mse readers could help me with information regarding the acto r Rute rt Farqharso n - also known as Robin de !J C o ndermine . H e ~'e rtu rmed th e ro le of H erod in a number of prod uctions elf Salom.; and was appa rentl y an extraordinary actor (he may ha\'e e\'en sounded like Wilde himself). I would be grateful for any info rmation, Da \'id Langham, Manchester

Dear Sit; I am writing with disgust afte r hearing th at the site of Shakespeare's original Globe theatre is to be replaced with an office bloc k, I appreciate that a fine replica has been built on the South Bank, but it seems ludicrous to now abandon the original site. It sho uld be preserved as a major London landmark. After all, I think we have enough towe ring office blocks without adding another eyesore to the list. C R oge rson London

Dear Sit; I rarely feel strong ly eno ugh to write to a publication, least of all if it is in agreement with a wri ter, but I would like to ackno wledge Matt Wolf's se ntiments regarding Maggie Smith in Talking Heads (january iss ue). H aving recently seen her pe rformance, her depth of feeling, her humou r and pathos left me simply bowled over. During my 35 years of theatregoing I have seen some of this centu ries great perfon:nances - including Maggie Smith playing everything from Rosalind to Lady Bracknell. It's a great pla y but transcended by a great ac tress. Tony M arsh, Dunstable MARCH 1997 APPlAUSE 29

westend theatres


travel information Theatreland Car Parks

Westminister MasterPark Ca r Parks:

Ca mbridge C ircus: Newport Place, WC2 (0171 434 1896)

Poland Street: Poland Street, WI (0 171 437 7660)

Rochester Row: Rochester Row, SW I (0 171 828 4298)

Trafa lgar: Sp ring Gardens, SW I (0171 930 1565)

Whitcomb: Whitcomb Stree t, WC2 (0 171 8395858)

seating fax

c serVIce

For a West End theatre sea ting plan, simply di al the number of the thea tre listed below from the handset of your fax machine, Helplin e 0171 4 I2 3795, Presented hy Applause magazine in assC'ciatlon with Tel ecom Express Ltd, Westmmster Tower, Lon Jon SEI 7SP. Calls cost ÂŁ 1,SO/min (duration of fax approx, 2 minutes),

Ade lphi

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information ca ll London Transport on 0171 222 1234,


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Train Services also run until late, but it 's bes t to check with your loca l

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.... ............ .... ................ .......... .............. .............•

t was good


see Peter Hall acknow­


highly respected and popular playwright,

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..

The Contessa, with Maria very much in mind.

ledging 'the generosity and assistance'

instead of an account of the life of a

I wonder if someo ne will now be brave

of the late Lady St Just, executrix of

dramatist out of fav our. Even so it hardly

enough to give it a first productio n)

Tennessee Williams' estate in a

matches in interest and insight the volume

programme note fo r his producti on of

•• •

of letters between Maria St Just and

Stree tcar at the Haymarket. Even playwrights

Tennessee Williams, 5 O'clock Angel, edited

as great as Williams tend to have a period of

by Kit Hesketh H arvey. The balance of the

I had a celebratory drink with Wendy Toye on account of her confirmation as a London

unpopularity in the years immediately

letters were from him to her - as G o re Vidal

following death. It was due to Maria St JUSt'S

pithily o bserved , he had no t preserved many

University Doctor of Letters. 'Co me and have

skillful and devoted championship of her long

of hers, 'Dear Tennessee - so sentimental'.

a glass after I have been Doc(Ored ', she had

time friend that Tennessee's reputation did no t slip but burgeoned in the dangerous yea rs.

How much Lahr's inspiration fo r his

said. A couple of days later Herbert Kretzmer

vitriolic piece came from his dismissal as the

told me he had been made a Doctor of Letters

edito r of the letters by Lady St Just, I do not

too. Richmond in Herbie's case. They are all

of Williams. Her determinatio n only to

know. She was a wonderfully vivid and

over the place. When Noel Coward heard

approve the very best productions means

volatile Russian and fought like a tiger fo r

that Olivier had been made a Doctor of

that we have seen fine revivals of Orpheus

her friends. Tennessee was as fo rtunate as

Letters he snapped out 'Four, I presume'.

Descending and The Rose Tattoo (Hall) , Car on a Hot Tin Roof, The Night of the Iguana and Sweet Bird of Youth (Richa rd Eyre) and The Glass Menagerie (Sam Mendes). Now the RSC are promising Camino Real which we

he was wise in making her his executrix.

The result has been a veritable festival

He wro te one play, I think it was called

When Albert Finney was in an early Chichester season he was made a Doc(Or of Letters by East Sussex University. His father was not impressed, 'Docto r of Letters,' he huffed in disbelief, 'we haven't had so much as

first saw at the Phoe nix in the 50's with

a bloody postcard for months.' I'm sure Miss

Elizabeth Seal, Jo hn Wood and Denho lm

Toye and Mr Kretzmer will grace their

Elliot. Glasgow Citz are mounting Cat, and

doctorates. Herbie is working on a musical

Mold will see a new Menagerie . Even mo re

with Laurie Johnson. It 's called Glory Road;

daring, Duncan Weld o n is talkmg of putting

but as it's about Moses he tells me he has had

o n the rare Clothes for a Summer Hotel and

to resist a temptation to call it One Guy

the more familiar Summer and Smoke which

Named Mo.

starred Margaret Johnston some forty odd years ago.


• •• The sad death of Willie Rushto n inspired a

Soon after Maria St Just's death the New

wonderful joke at the Mo rtlake Crematorium

Yorker published a long and scurrilous

funeral. After Barry Cryer had read one of

demolition of her cha racter by John Lahr ­

Willie's wittily rhymed pieces Bron Waugh

usually a reliable and highly intelligent c ritic.

ptoduced the perfect Private Eye quip­

(His recent piece on Woody Allen was a

funny, topical and in excolCiating bad taste.

joy). In spite of shocked letters of denial from

He said he'd been asked to tell a few Willie

Maria's legion of friends the New Yorker's

stories, reca ll a few jolly mem o ries. 'But', he

editor, Tina Brown, refused to publish any

said 'I can't do that. Death is a serious

rebuttal and so the calumny stood.

business. Tho' if Willie were here today I

One of Lahr's beefs was that Lady St Just had

dare say we'd be having a good laugh at the

held up the publication of Lyle Leverich's

death of Sir Laurence Van der POSt l '

elephantine, over-researched, underwritten biography of Tennessee, Tom - The Unknown Tennessee Williams, 590 pages of early life. In

• ••

fact, Mr. Leverich was lucky that his book

Jo hn Miller is writing Judi Dench's

was delayed . Thanks to Maria's efforts it

biography. Big problem. He can't find anysme

became the biography of the early years of a

willing to say a word against her. Any offe rs? MARC H 1997 APPLAUSE 31

who make a di~erence

., He may not be as rich as Cameron Mackintosh , but he probably does more than anyone else to keep Britain's theatres in business. David Nathan talks to Bill Kenwright about the hits and misses. n a well-ordered wo rl d it woul d be qui te simple, given that he is as open as an umbrella in a rainsto rm , to go through all Bill Kenwr ight' s productions for a yea t and work out the profit and loss. What the successful shows made and how much the flops los t wou ld give you a figure which would answer the one ques tion everyone asks about hi m: How does he do it ? 'Righ t,' says Bill , in a tone that suggests th at he, too, would like to find out, 'at the start of 1996 1 had on The Rupert Stree t Lonely

Hearts Club , Fun ny Money, The Mas ter Builder, Th e Roy Orbison Show and Blood Brothers in the West End. I was also working on Chapter H . \1ind Millie for Me, Present Laughter and a O1 t'\\ . ,Id '" called Switchback. Ferry Cross the ~. !<-"'. '.':1> In rehearsal and Blood Brothers was lr C " 3 . . The n we did Shirley Valentine 3£all'.. iL:, Lblion toured. The first week in February H e L. 19 mJ the Shon and the Tall came in. Th,, ~ p.: ' j Pa pers at Bromley starred ItS rre-\VeS t End tour and there were ot her th ings.' 'Wha t happens. ' he ,<1',';;, trying to be helpful, 'is tha t I get myself In to situations wh ere I ta ke on thea tres. On Fe bruar y 19'- and he's co unting as he' s talking - 'I had fo urteen productions. I take on leases of thea tres, like the Gielgud and th e Hay market. It mea ns that I know that when shows end' have to ha ve

so met hing (0 repl ace them. Whyl God al one knows. I don't need to do it; I do n't ge t them all tha t much cheaper. I sec ure them and I know they' re min e. W hen I first started in the West End twenty years ago I could n't ge t a thea tre fo r love nor money. Neither could Cameron (Mackin tos h) or Du nc an (Weldon). We we re outsiders. That's always li ved with me. I like to know what I'm doing and where I'm going. It's an addicti on,' he confesses wit h the re lief of a suspect coming clean. 'Without any shadow of doubt, an addic tion.' Addictions are ex pensive, I po int out. 'If a gree ngrocer or ta xi-d river worried about his weekl y takings,' he sa ys, 'he cou ldn 't ex ist. What you've go t to do is to look at it on the yea r. I sa id to my Jenny the other night (ac tress Jenny Seagrove : th eir relat ionship's been goi ng on for more than twO years, the best thing th at has eve r happened to him , he says, like finding peace at last) You know da rling, I said, I must ea rn a lo t of money because I do n't half lose a 1m.' Now it's not that he wants to Jose money. He neve r ever... sudd enl y he stops. He was going to say he never puts on shows for mone y al one, but that would be wrong. No, he re thin ks, he has va rious shows that bring him income ­

Stepping Out, Shirley Valenti ne, Blood Brothers. 'I have had colossal hits, huge hi ts, all o ver the wo rld. Now why


do you think Cameron Mack intosh is a multi ­ multi-multi-multi millionaire I Four shows I He had back ers for those shows. I don't have backers. It's all my money. If I had Cameron's shows I would be twe nty rimes as rich as he is. My hit shows make a lot of money and it comes to me, though I never see it. When a Passion or Company comes along, it's me th at loses money. 'Onc e I thought I'd get bac kers in . We had just had a colossal success with Clifford Od ets' The Country Girl wi th Martin Shaw and Hannah Gordon. So I got backe rs for another Clifford Odets play, The Big Knife, with Shaw aga in , Ga yle Hunnicutt and James Sikking from Hill Stree t Blues. Eve rybody was asking to put money into it. It started off at Leatherhead and as soon as I saw it I knew it was not go ing to work. I thought, how am I go ing to face those people I So [ wrote to them all telling them to take their money back. I was right; it was a d isastcr. 'J can only live my life the way 1 li ve my life ,' he says. ~

Just a short walk ~ from the West ln~ . . . .

'Ten years ago a producer n ever spoke to a

there with my scrap book inste ad of a

critic th e way we do now. And 1 said to myself,

contract. It gives me a big kick, but I don't

I can't stand this, this is stupid. I see these guys

want to get to kn ow them all that much, any

all the time; I want a rel at ionship with th em .

more than I want to know my Everton players

So I started chatting to

(he is a director). They're my idols when


guys. You give me

a battering and I'm big enough to take it. It

they're on the pitch, 12 feet tall to me. So I

French's Theatre


hurts to get bad reviews. Horrible' horribl e!

don't rea lly need a fant as tically cl ose

A veritable Aladdin's cave of books about all aspects of theatre: scripts, set design, lighting , sound, audition material, and more'

Night Must Fall . O ne or two critics went for

horribl e ' Not on ly do you lose the money but

relationship with them. I just need to respect

you feel a l'rick, an aboolute idiot.'

them and look after them.'

H e was more than hurt, though, about

Our recent publications include: Bad Company by Simo n Bent

Cracks by Martin Sherman

The Dearly Beloved and

What I Did In The Holidays

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Killers by Adam Pe rnak

Playhouse Creatures by April de Angeli s

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If We Are Women

by Joanna McLelland Gla ss

French's Theatre Bookshop

and Samuel French Ltd

52 Fitzroy Street, London WIP 6JR

Tel 0171 3879373 Fax 0171 387 2161

Once Kenwright, a builder's son from Liverpoo l, was an actor with film star

him personaJiy, which upset him. ' I don't

ambitions. The best he did was a ro le in

think,' he says, 'that I got it wrong, but th ey

Coronation Street. He staged a rwduction of

th o ught I did. 1 lost my confidence.

Billy Liar in Bu xton because h e wanted

For about ten days I thought I can't do thi s

the lead . His friends told him he h ad done a

any more. I didn't quite know what to do.'

great job - as a producer.

So he go t on a l, lane to N ew York to see

to play

There is a story about him that illustrates

his new cast in the successful production of

the range of his shows or, if you like, the

An Ideal Husband. He had to supervise the

degree to which he is besotted by the business.

take-ove r cast headed by Stephanie Beacham

After th e West End run of the Harold Pinter

and Nicky Henson . While in New York he

play Moon1ight, Pinter threw a party at the Ivy

met LyIUl Redgrave and thought, 'There's my

and sa id nice things about everyone. Then h e

answer, a star and S hakespeare - th e critics

invited Kenwright to speak. 'Moonlight has

will like me again. So I got back on the horse

closed,' Kenwright sa id, 'And we open Mike

'0 Knickers in

and Shakespeare For My Fath er got sensat ional

Harding's Fur

rev iews. That makes me fe e l better. The n

Liverpool on Tuesday.' Then h e turned to

Jessica (J essica Lange ) came along for

Pinter and sa id: 'Are you available to play

A Streetcar Named Desire.' Sadly, he lost

the father!'

money on Shakespeare For M)' Father too.

om and

Maybe that goes some wa y to explain

H e likes stars. 'I often feel I should be

how Kenwri ght does it. â&#x20AC;˘


A,= EXCELLENCE. Llo yds Private Banking 's commitment to supporting the writers \ovho bring Britain's

theatre to life will continue with our sponsorship of the Playwright of the Year Award. The prize of ÂŁ25,000 will be given to the most talented pla yw right whose work has been first performed during the yea r. For fu rther deta ils, please con tact

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134 APPIAU f

M RC H 1997



Sheridan Morley praises the work of American playwright Richard Nelson) who) like Miller and Mamet) is appreciated here a good deal more than he is in his homeland. or over a decade no w the Roya l

vi sion , and hi s own desc ription of Columbus

often seem to be writing with machine guns,

Shakespeare Company has re mained

mi ght usefu lly stand as an instant

Nelson is as dryas a dry martini.

loya l to on ly one transa tlantic

autob iography: 'h e's sympathetic and he's

dra matist, Richard Nel son : still only

fooli sh and he's sad and he's funny' .

in his midd le fonies , and with a

Like his great compatriot and contemp颅

Bo rn in C hicago in October 1950, he was taken o n frequent ttips to Broadway by his mother who had once been a chorus dancer. At

dramat ic pro file that remains curiously low

o rary A R Gurne y, Nel son frequently falls fou l

college he won a playwriting contest, and

co mpared to those of othe r American

of the British press because he is that c urious ly

befo re his 21st birt hday, had written twe nty路 one

pla ywrights of his generation, 1 beli eve Nelson

unfashionable playwriting figure; an ironi st with

plays of one kind or ano ther.

to be by fa r the most versatile, prol ific and

a st rong sense of the ridiculous in human and

impress ive of them all.

politi ca l relatio nships, but with the firm belief

of straight plays reflected the last twe nty years

th at suc h irony shou ld be expressed with

of Ame ri can life', he told me. 'I believe that

elegance and wit. Where Shepard and Mamet

playwriting shou ld be abo ut so mething mo re

His latest play, opening this month at the Ba rbican after a summer run at Stratford last

'At that time a ll o ne ever saw in the way

se ason, is Th e General From

than that ; wit h Mo liere o r Gorki

.--\mmca, ' Llff in g Corin Redgra ve

or Chekho v you get both the

as Gec. rge Washin gton and Ja mes

individual and th e context in

Lauren son as Be ncji ct Arno ld.

whi ch he o r she li ves; it's that

Woefully underf3ted b

conflic t, the successes and

013 .\


my colleagues, a, is so c.(ten Nelson's fat e over here, this

frustrations of trying to deal with 1S.


a whole world, no t just one tiny

fact, a seri o usly splendid drama

part o f it, that can make thea tre

about the n at ure o f treachery and

exci ting and rich and new.'

patri o tism and the way that, at

It was one of his most

least in the case of A rn0 1d, the two

faithful directors, Dav id Jones,

can be mirror路 images of each other.

who first brought Nelson to the

This is Nelson' s seve nth

Royal Shakespeare Company in

o riginal script for the RSC written

the early 1980s.

over the last decade; among the others, Principia Scriptorae was

Nelson 'in the Spring of 1979 in

'We first met,' recalls

about an American academic

the restaurant of the Park H ote l

plunged into the vottex of o verseas

in New York. I was there be ing

po litics; Some Americans Abroad

interviewed by him for the job of

was a lethal sati re o n academic

Literary Manage r of the

to urs o f Britain; New England was

Btooklyn Academy theatre

its reverse, a study of unhappy and

company which David was then

suicidal Brits in America; while

forming; we hit it o ff O K, and I

Columbus was a huge but

got th e job whi ch proved rather

ultimately unsa tisfactory account

less enduring th an our fri endsh ip

of Christopher's later exp loratio ns.

and working relat ionship.'

Clearly, versat il ity is not in

Despite the early and

questi on: N e lson's people are

tragic co ll apse of Jones' plan to

engaged on a pe rmanenr search for

bring the Brookl yn Acad emy a

identity, and his particul a r interest

resident theatre company,

is in Anglo.A merican relations

something it has not achieved to

go ne astray; it's a darkl y comic

thi s day, the mee ting with

,V>A CH 1997


Nelso n led to them wo rking o n Principiae Scriptorae a t the Ba rbican Pit in 1986. Since the n , mos t o f hi s plays h ave hee n premiered by rhe RSC. rarhe r rhan in hi s narive Ame ri ca, a reflecrion perhaps of the facr rhar rhey a re frequendy, if n o r spec ifi ca lly, ami-America n (or ar leasr wrinen in a style which Bro adw"y n o lo nge r seems ro love , rhar of rhe hi ghl y academic sar iri sr). Nelson is a lso ohsessed wirh rhe n arure of ex il e, rhe far e whi c h finally overta kes Be nedicr Arno ld as Th e General From America , wh o ends up living in po ve rty in Lo ndo n as a resulr of his principled treachery: 'I' ve a lways bee n ime resred in people who a re alVay from h ome , or in ex ile, o r jusr o ur of th e ir place and rim e: it's so me rhing I've pursued in play afte r play, some rhing I consider nor jusr a person a l o bsessio n bur rhe obsessio n of rhe whll le rwemierh cemury. I've ne ver been a documemary wrirer, bur I a m inre resred in hiswri ca l accide m s, and certainly Benedicr Arno ld was o ne o f rh ose - rhe world only kn o ws him n ow as a rra iror bur he was a grear dea l mo re complex a figure rha n such in sr8 nt definirio n mighr suggesr'. In fact, The General From Am erica, like Co lumhus, sers up a man mo re sinned against rha n sinn in g, \\,hl) like Anto n y o r Corio lanu s is doomed co do rhe wrong thi n g fo r all rhe ri ghr re<lsons. A ro und him a re ra nged his chilly fam ily, George Wa sh ingron ('who rhe hell wa n rs a city n amed a fre r the m I') an d a wonde rfull y gay, young ga llo ping maj o r (Adam Godl ey ) wh ose caprure is ulrimate ly rh e ca use of Arnold' s undo ing.

The General From America is a ho ur the pir\' " f \\'ar, bur ir is a lso a masterly accou m o f h ow hi srory co mes r,) be sul'\'e ned by rea l peo ple wirh individua l age ndas w pursue ; in thar se nse ir is class ic Nelson , wirh a classic Nelson w uc h; rhe only characrer in the pl ay w face dearh fairly and squarely is a gay, fru srrared a mate ur aC((lr. Nelson is n or a ng lo phile en ough yer


ma ke hi s pe rm anem h o me

here; he is still an Ameri ca n firsr a nd lase. th"ugh like Arthur Miller he recognises rha r his chances o f producclon in maj or pl ay ho uses have always been be tte r o n this side of rhe pond. Nor is h e inclined w reach an y gli b conclusions about the differences ber\\'een Brirish and American acrors o r d irec rors; wary of attending roo many rehe arsa ls, a ll he will ad mit is rhar eve ry direcror \\'orks differently, and rh ar eac h time a Londo n play o f his is produced in .A merica, he no rices differem moods end emphases e me rging from his rext; 'bur rhen you'd pro bably ger all those differences in prod ucrio n s, say, at Greenwich and SrTarfo rd of the same pl ay.' The truth is rh at Nelson \Hires for transadamic trave llers; few in his usua ll y upmarket aud iences ca n have fai led to n o t ice so me differences between Br itain 8nd America, and wha t Nelson then does is to explo re those differences, sometimes celebrating them a nd o fre n prodding at them as at an open wound. As his oc her So vier a nd Ce ntral European setti ngs would also sugges r, Nelso n lives as a playwrighr on rhe borders of politica l, soc ia l and geographical ch a nge; like a wa r anist, he is up at the frontier, recording mo me nts of transiti on as well as rhe hisrorical and po lirical imperatives which co ndi tion rh ose mo ments. In that se nse , it is no t roo grea t a cla im to sugges r that his characters are oft e n C hek hov ian in their awareness of a Iosr past a nd a deeply uncertai n future. Fo r my mo n ey he's the t he perfect millennium cha ngeover dra ma tist, eyes fi xed o n th e nea r future and hea rt buried somewhe re in the recem past; [ a lso can n ot say too o fren that, just bec ause he doesn 't deal in the jugular o r the vern acul a r, just because h e isn't Mamet or Shepard o r o n his way co Ta rantino, doesn'r necessa ril y mean rh at Richard N e lson is no t o n e of [he great American pl aywrighrs o f rhe cenrury. Lt' s JUSt tha t, to hi s o wn delight , he remain s a little unfashio nable. â&#x20AC;˘


Michael Arditti talks to an actress who has achieved success on both sides of the Atlantic in a career that has lasted seventy years. n a theatre which nightly deals in illusions of beauty. there is one actress whose genuine beauty has encha nted audiences on both sides of the Atlantic for nearly seventy years: Cons tance Cummings. Her recent appearance in the Chichester revi va l of Uncle Vanya offered a welcome reminder of her talent. Her distingu ished presence and quiet concentration as Vanya's mother foc used atten tion on a traditionally shadowy role. Like Rosemary Harris. she has shown a rare ability to combine a career in borh New York and London, appea ring on Broadway in such plays as Hay

Fever. The Chalk Garden, The Golden Age and, in the West End. Madame Bovary, Goodbye Mr Chips and Who's Afraid o!Virginia Wool!' She was born in Seattle and raised in Ca li forn ia, and her morher's mid· We stern ancestry was to prove invalua ble to one ,)fher greates t roles, the Ohio· born Mary Tyrone in Long Day's Joume ~ Into Night, She first went to New York at the age of se,'enteen in 192 7. v,'lth the aim of becoming a dancer, only to find that there were very fe\\' ballets being performed. 'There was ballet in operas,' she says; 'the dancers came on and fluttered around on toe·shoes when needed. But there was no ballet as such .' In any case. het ambition may have been misplaced for, as she now admits , 'I don't think I'd have been ve ry good at it. ce rtainly not tod ay. when they're all so thin. I was a rather solidly built litrle thing.' instead. she joined the chorus of Broadway music als, the Gershwins'

Oh , Kay, and the revue, The Little Show. Then, in a stroke of luck more common in the piays of the period than in the lives of the ac tors who performed them, she was spotted in an understudy performance by the roving reporrer of the New York Sun who. having nothing else to write about in a thin week, chose her. with the tesult that she was summoned to Ho llywood by Sam Goldwyn and cast oppos ite Ronald Colman. 'I though t it was marvellous,' she says; 'then I was fired. I probably wasn't sophistica ted enough. They rep laced me with Loretta Young, who was very lovely. But Ronald Colman, who was a very nice man, realised what a terrible blow this was. He had a friend in Myron Selznick's office. He told him 'You must get the kid one film out here. so that when she goes back to New York. she needn't say she was fired.' A test at Columbia was duly arranged. and she went on to play Walter Huston's daughter in The CrimiMI Code . She made fourteen films over ,he next two years and many more during ;uc;c<l ue nt trips to Hollywood, citing among her t'a,·,>urites. Capra's American Madness




and It Happened One Night. But, in 1933, she marr ied the Engl ish playwright

>­ MARCH 1997


Benn Levy, whom she mer during one of hi s sc reenwri[ing stints in Cali fornia, and moved [0 London . They we re together for fony yea rs, until Levy's death in 1973. She appeared in several plays by her husband, whom she nicknamed Mousey ('because he was ro[all y [he oppos ite') . These Included The Jealow; God, Retllnl to Tyassi, ClulCerhuck, If I Were You and The Rape of the Bell. The la[[er, in which she srarred opposite John C lements, Kay Hammund and Richard A[[enborough, remains her favourite. She may nor [end Levy's flame with a Lenya- li ke zeal, nevertheless she considers [hal irs Strong comedy and early femlOis[ message make i[ ripe for revival. Levy rook his soc ial commenta ry OntO a wider stage when he became Labour MP for E[On and Slough after [he war (having bee n persuaded ro stand by [heir friend s Nye Bevin and Jennie Lee). His hecti c sc hedule lef[ hi s wife wit h a lo[ of free rime and she rook [he opponun i[y [ 0 develop her seco nd great love, anthro[K110gy, studying fo r a yea r a[ [he University of London. Her simultaneous appearance in Don'r Listen Ladies prompted her favourite ever headline: London UniverSity Swdent Scars in West End Play. By 1945, she was, of course, an es[ablished West End scar; from her first West End appearance opposite Roge r Livesey in Vin cent La wrence's Sour Grapes, [he theatre had dominated her life. 'I never sropped do ing plays,' she sa ys; 'fil ms happened IO-bwveen. I liked [he whole sec-up of [he stage. I prefe rred having [he aud ience and doing [he playas I['S written rathe r [han our of sequence.' The 'hlms in -between' included Blirhe Spirir with Rex Harri sl1n and Kay Hammond and The Barrie of rhe Sexes with Peter Sellers. The plays included a srring of classics at Oxford, such as Th e Taming of the Shrew and Lysisrrara, and appearances for [he O ld Vic opposite Roben Dona[ in Romeo and Julier and S[ewan G ranger in Sr Joan. Before bei ng allowed [0 play S[ Joa n, she had [0 be ve[[ed by [he author, so she went [Q visit him a[ his London home. "We were [alking. I sa id [Q Shaw 'Have you ever seen me on [he slagel' .. 'No, child, I have no[.' .. 'How can you [e ll if I'll be good as S[ Joan I' ... 'I think I can [ell, child ." ln [he eve nt, he wrote her a le[[er, saY lOg [hal, when she had more poeuy, she wou ld be a very good acrress. His hopes were fu lfi lled, and in la[er li fe she gave [11'0 unforge[[ab le perfo rmances, [he first in Long Day's J o ~,mey /nlO Night oppos ite her old friend, Laurence Olivier, and [he second in Arthur Kopit's \);Jings, in which she played a woman suffering fro m a suoke. Bo[h entailed exte nsive medical research, since Mary Tyrone was 10 [he grip of morphine addiction. She admits with a laugh, 'I think I could do a play about gelling drunker; I've rehearsed [hal. Bur I knew nothing about dope.' Her studies a[ rhe Roya l College of Surgeons contribured [0 a ponrayal of radiant vulne rabili[y which perfectly compleme nted Olivier's feral James Tyrone. Tha[ she has been see n less on [he stage since her glory days a[ [he Na[ional is nor due [0 age or incapacity - she wea rs her eighty-six years as if [hey were a well-prese rved seventy - bur rather [0 [he lack of available roles. 'I['s so unfair,' she complai ns, '[here are lo[s of pam for old men, none fo r old lad ies. There are so many things I'd srililike [0 play fo r women of [hiny and fony; btl( it's no use crying ove r [hose.' She has few regrets, declaring [hal 'it's been a very full life, a very fulfilled life. I've been so lucky. I can't [ell you a s[O ry of long m uggles; i[ wasn't like [ha[.' She is curren tl y 'resting' bur has no thought of retiring, al[hough she confesses [hal 'ilouk a[ things and chink [hal it's nO[ my world any more. In [he theatre bur, especially, in films, I look down [he cast and [here's no one I know; I feel an ou[side r.' To sugges tions [hal she is, in fact, a great survivor, she smiles and asks 'W hat's [he u,e of being a SU[I'IV (1 r, when you're stuck on a life-raft miles from shore:' â&#x20AC;˘

Michael Ardiw's hi!!:hl)' acclaimed novels, The Celiba[e and Pa~a n and Her Parents, are pt,blished by Sinclair Stevenson and -will he relSSHed in (xI p.!rback by






I 97


Sam Ingleby reviews what promises to be the first instalment of playwright Neil Simon's memoirs.

j\ /

hen he srop ped writing comedy fo r Sid Cae s8r a nd was

Simon promises another volume

briefly tending ro the needs of Jerry Lewis , Nell Simo n

Meanwhile, he goes o n writing plays whi ch, like all great com edies,

started ro write comedies for the rest of us. He h ~ ~ been

re ly on tTUth.

;bing It n oll' for nearly 40 years and it don' t seem a day too much. True, the comedies have become progressively darker, but the


deal with the post-Joan peri od .

'The p ro blems we cause o urselves,' h e says , 'are nOt n ecessarily a laughing matter, but wh en I put it down o n pape r and get it right, th en

laughter, somehow, has nor diminished. Anyone who has provided th e

put it up o n the stage and make that stage a mirror of ou r own responses

world - barring, I suppose, China, India a nd th e American mid -west ­

a nd reac tion s, more often than n ot the audiences see m

with so much laughter deserves ro be sa luted .

themsel ves . They usually say, I know someone exac tly ilke th at when, in

We, on ou r part, need ro know that it isn ' t as easy as it looks or sounds. We remember with deli ght such thll1gs as the promise the newly­ wed husband makes ro the eager wife in BarefooTin ,he Park - '1' II co me


laugh at

fact, they may be talking ., i,tlut themselv es.' There is so mething strange ly clumsy and hesitant, even endea rin g, abou t that se ntenc e. If h e were sayi ng suc h a thing in a play you know it

h ome early a nd we'll wallpaper each other'; o r when Oscar yells at Felix

wo uld be sharper, stronger and shorter. I doubt if there arc many 'more

in The Odd Couple, 'I can't stand litrle notes on my pill ow: We're all o ue

often than no ts' and 'maybes' in his dialogue.

of Corn Flakes. F U. It took me three houts

book that lets us know


figure o ut that F U was


But it is parr of an h o nest

good d ea l about the pri vate pain from which the

N ei l Simon plays are h ew n. Of course we recognise it; if it didn't hurr,

Felix Ungar.' Sim o n links the pl ays to his life, but gives few clu es to the origin of

we wo uldn't laugh . •

great lines like these. Did he name the character Felix Ungar in order to get an F U joke into the third act 7 O r did it come ro him as he was writing? Maybe the character was called so mething else and h e changed the name to Felix Unga r when he thought of the joke. We are no t told . He may well believe that subjecting the sublime one-liners - which, in fact, can be several lines lo ng - to too penecrating an examination might make them fade away like po litical pro mises. All the sa me, his au tobiography would have been much mo re interesting if he h ad gone into more detai I. He knows he is funny and he should know, roo, after all these successful years, that tale nt like that does nor disappear if it is examined mo re closely. He is good on the origin o f his pla ys. The Odd Couple came about when his brother Danny a nd Roy Gerber, a thea tric a l age nt, moved in together to save money after they h ad each go ne through a divorce. Da.1 ny actually cooked a meal for fou r and when the girls showed up an h, 'ur late because Roy hadn't to ld them the exact time to be there,


nm' al m~'s t k illed him with his spa tula, writes Simo n. To him it was

clearly an htlario us situation and h e suggested a play. Danny sta rred to write it, but e ven tualh' gave up and rold Neil to get o n with it. Neil ga ve him a percentage o f the play and they both still make money out of it. The nea rest he comes to the Neil Simon we know from the plays is when hi s first child is born and, noting that she has a 'pointy' head, he wond ers whether they should put he r in a crib at night or JUSt throw her into a dartboard. He started the book, he says, with the intention of showing h ow his life and his work fed off one a nother. Inde ed, he demonstrates it by being un ab le to continue with it after reac hing the point, on 11 Jul y 1973, when his wife, Joan, died a fter 17 years o f blissful marriage. H e was 46

Rewrites. A Memoir,

"ears of age and it is notewo rthy tha t one of his rece nt plays in London

by Neil Si mon . Simon and Schuster, £16.99.

was Chapter Two in which the protagonist is a man who, while sti ll gfl eving deeply over the death of his wife, and


hi s deep aston ishme nt,

meets an d ma rries anOther woman.

",1/"« H 1 '-17




Ronald Bergan visits the much,needed Audience Rehabilitation and Training Centre deep in the Hertfordshire countryside, and listens to the opening talk given by its chief instructor.


ood morning, lad ies and gentlemen , we lcome w the A udience Rehabilitm io n and Training Ce ntre. As you know, you have been sent here to lea rn ho w w be hav e at the the atre before yo u ca n take your places aga in as members of an aud ien ce. A ft er th is

week's course, you will be permitted to go to a pl ay or musical under supervision, wh ere your behav io ur will be mo nitored . If it is dee med sa ti sfacw ry, then you wi ll h ave your aud ience licence rene wed. Should you commit another audi ence fel ony that co ntrave nes the Audien ce and Specta tor Act, then you mi ght lose your righ t w audience membership fo r life. Th is morning, I will just give you a general rundow n on the most co mmon audience crimes without loo king at yo ur ow n pa rt icular prob lem. First of a ll, I'd like to dea l wi th those who suffe r fro m, what I call , 'The C lap'. This is a widesp read co mplaint wh ich manifes ts itself by the seemingl y uncontro llable impulse to applaud at eve ry opportunity. it usua lly begins as soon as the curtain goes up. One look at a set, no maner h ow und istingui shed, triggers this reac ti on. When the lead ing acwrs and ac tresses enter, the person wi th 'The C lap' begins to applaud aga in. Man y d irec to rs go to grea t lengths to counteract this ailment. A mong the methods used are , getting the star w enter disc ree tly beh ind a group of people; hav ing them speak immediately, o r disguising the actor so much that it is some minutes before the spectator recognises h im o r her, by which tim e it is too U





late to clap. Audiences at operas and musicals have a particular horror of silence. In order w avo id any hint of it, they make sure they are the first to bang the ir hands toge ther befo re the las t note of a song h as d ied away, and they will ho ld up the anion for as lo ng as possible aft erwards , presum ab ly because they prefer the sound of app lause to that of singing. I must wa rn you th at one of our curati ve methods is




tie th e addicts' hands behind their backs during a perfo rmance. At

We also have cures fo r those with irritating tics such as incessa nt

first they will find this excruciating, but we hope that after a couple

no te tak e rs ([look forw a rd

of sho ws they will begin to appreciate the consequences, and it won't

of this nasty habit) a nd chronic fid ge ters - those women who ca nnot

be necessa ry in future.


purging the theatre critics among you

refrai n from flickin g their hair behind them, applying lipstick just

As gre a t as the impulse to clap, is that of the need


talk during

the performance. There are those wh o cannot wait for the interval or

before the interval o r the end of the performance, o r fiddling with jewellery as if some subtle thief would deprive them of their trinkets

final curtain to express their opinion on what they have witnessed.

if they didn't cling to them in the dark. The combination of the

There is a loq uaci o us breed who hardly uner a word before the show,

dimmed lights, and the footlights h ave a different effect on others

but who suddenly find their [Ongues as the curtain rises as if the

who imagine it is a cue fo r a good sleep. After a large meal and all

spo tlight were turned on th em. Eve n if they speak softly it sounds as

those chocolates ea ten lo udly during the first act, a nd alco ho l

loud as a ,W\2e ,,路hisper o r an actor's aside. However, ask them after

consumed during the interval, why shouldn't one ha ve a noisy snooze

the play \\hat they th ought of it, and they have little to say, haVing

during the second ac t? We find that electr ic shocks tend to dissuade

aIr" :.L gl\路en a running commentary throughout. We have ways of

people from dozing off.

mak tn"

\ ,)U

We will also be confiscating all digital watches in o rder to

shut up.

The cure is a mouth clamp, which serves also for those peop le

,,路i... have o nly to step into an auditorium than a great desire fo r

prevent bleeps. Eve n tho ugh they might help wake up the owners o r those arou nd th em, they disturb undeliquent playgoers. But the mLls t

s\\eets and ice-cream suddenly comes over them. They will be taught

heinous crime of all is the possession of mo bile pho nes which ring

that if one attempts to unwrap a chocolate slowly, it only prolongs

during a performance. This is especially disorientating for actors in plays with phones, who think the stage man ager has missed his cue,

the sound of the rustling of the paper. As irritating, in a different way, are those spectators who spend

o r in classics that predate the invention of the te lephone. During

the entire play reading the programme fro m cover to cove r hardly

th eir first few days here, the culprits will have no escape from a

daring to look up. These o ffend ers will be sent to the theatre without

ringing phone, day and night. as those who have been caught using a

a programme, a punishment which requires them to look at the stage.

flash camera in the theatre will have to face a barrage of flashli ghts

H owever, there ,He those who not only read the programme thoroughly but who look a ro und the auditorium for something to distract them from what they have os tensibl y paid to see. Their heads

wherever they are. What's that you say? If you can't applaud wh en you like, or eat, talk, fidget. sleep or read, rhen yo u are being deprived of all the

will be fixed in iron vices, fo rcing them to look straight ahead,

pleasure of theatre-goin g. This may sound a rad ical idea, but ha ve you

preventin g them from turning away from the stage.

ever tried just watching the sho w I

Saying hello to

The Goodbye Girl Pr file of pla'Vwright





by Paul Errol It was never the expressed intention of 18 year-old Ruaidhri Conroy, who plays Cripple Billy in Martin McD,magh's The Cripple of Inishmoon, [0 become an actor. It JUSt happened, and , in the absence of any thing berrer, Ruaidhri (pronounced Rory ) dec ided it was as good a way as any to earn a living. It all began when his a ror father, Brendan Conroy, suggested him for a 'run on' part in a play he was doing in Dublin. 'All I had to d " Rualdhri told me in a rich Irish accent as he lit the first of everal cigatett he sm ked during our lunch [ ether, 'was literally to run on and off. But it pa id £36 a wee k, wh ich lI'as grand, Se I thought to my elf, 'why not" After that,' he aid, 'I joined a children' s agency and g t quite a lot f work in ads and in short fil ms, and s an extra. For ome reason there were never any' udition- for the theatre. I don't know why. Maybe because there aren't that many g ld parts for an eight year-old.' His fi rst big break came four years later when he was chosen, aft er 14 auditions, to appear in the film Into the \lYel t. 'I first re d for the part when I was 12,' he said, 'but it was a trouhled production and in the two yean" it roo k to get made, the director changed, and so did the script and everal members of the cast. When it fi nally came out, it was a big hit and ran in cinemas in Ireland for over six months. I don't th ink it did much busines anywhe re el e, but in Ireland people in the street recognised me and they could qUOte wh Ie lines of dia logue from the film. It was grand.' Other film roles fo llowed and he has ince appeare in Horse, Hear My Song , In/o the Border Country, and in tephen Frears' The Van . Then, last year, at the age of 17, he flew to London to audition for a play in the Young Writer's Festival at the Royal C-ourt. He didn't ge t the parr. Undaunted , his agent Lisa Cook suggested he make the most of his trip by dropping in at the National Theatre to pick up a copy of a new play they were about to uacalled TheCripple of Inishnuum, and for which he thought he might be suitable. '1 read the play on the plane goi ng back t Dublin,' Ruaidhri aid, 'and I wa laughi ng ou[ loud ly. It was gr at. This was omething I really wanted ro do. Wel l, what happened next,' he aid, 'wa [hat I read two scene for Nicholas Hymer, the direct r, and Martin Me nagh at the Gate Theatre n a Thursday and the following Monday they tOld me I'd gon he part. I moved d wn to London, found digs and we began to rehearse. Ar fi rst,' he ,aiU, 'I had some pr blem~ learn ing h )w [0 walk as cripple, and I ,lid 'ome v ry sil l), thing . But then they gOt in a physiotherapist who' wwked \\'ith cripple ' and polio victims and he taught me just wh"t to d . After that I was me. 'Fortunate ly we had a I ng rehearsa l peri [get it ju t right, and the only real nerves I had was on our opening night, two hours \:oefore


the sh w starred. But we had a \\'arm -ul' ,es"ic1n which relaxed me a bi t. The Other good thing IVas that my ma and Ja weren't in the audi ence as my ci a w a.,; working in a pIa\' in Ireland . I wouldn't have wanted to see them staring at me. An yway. "nee I !5\'t ,1n stage, the nerves disappeared and it was grand.' Ruaidhri , who has twOolder sister al ' 0 in che bu"mes' , has had no formal theatre rraining. 'If I'm going to rudy anl'thing: he :aid:i t won't be ac ting. That would JUSt be a waste ,f tim e. Drama cL s>~ are imc (m some people, bllt not for me.' He rarely go to the theatre hi m elf. and l-efote Crippie opened hi London theatregoing had been confi ned to the dtll.mal wher he'd seen John Gabriel Barkman and Death of a Saiesmlll . .I got reI' tickets for both ,' he sa id, 'and enjoyed them. Paul cofield wa rea lly good . I also went to the dress rehearsal of GIt)'S and Doll.!. It \\'a rand. I'd never seen a musical hefore. I usually ~ II asleep in th e theatre. May\:oe that'Swhy I don't go so much. 'But now that I'm in Londun until t-,'!a\" there'll be more ti me ­ e pecially as some week we only have one or twOperformances. Wh i h I don't really like. Al , I'll try g Illj! to the cmerna a bit more. When [ was about 15, I went a lot. With the money I made from /nlO the \\Jes t [ bought a video mach ine and for the next three years I wasted ti me watching far tOO many fil ms at home. But the machine and all my tapes were stolen while I was away making a 11m, and I've neve r botht:red to replace them .' I he ambitioU5? 'Well, I'd like to be famou , y-e • But not so much fot the mon y. I till live at home and I don't have many expen es right now. I'd like to be famous for the freedom it gives Y \I to choo the parts you really want. I've neve r rea lly given my career much thought, you know. I never made a deci ion to be an actor, and I never made a decision not to be one. Ther~ wa no reason ever to ay no to the work, so I've ju t kept on doing It. 'What would be grand,' he said, 'i to go to ew York With the pl ay. I'd really like that becau e I li ke to travel. One of the perks of making fil ms is that you get to trave l all ewer t prom te the picture before it opens. But who knows what'S goi ng [0 happen ? r ifl' ll even be in nother play for a whi le. There aren't that many good stage pam for 18 year-olds. Right n IV, though, I'm enjoying the chance to be in a ~ lay at the National Theatre :md to be as good in it as I can. I'm enj ying be ing in London, which I think I like belttr than Dubl in - it's so mu h bigger - and llove the people I'm working with. 'If nothing like thi ever happen to me aga in, well, I won't complain . It' heen a grand exp ri ne fa r, and it's no lVer et.' •



suggest tha t this may no t last very long.

of song and d"nce nu mber and exactl y·placed

relished, above all because o f its musical dlTcctio n.

Cherubin, Masse net's 27th opera, returned to

occasio nallatger set.pi ece, is made enti rely of light

John El iot Gard iner, back wi th the Royal Opera

Covent Garden on N ew Year's Day. It had been a

music. The tunes, the dances, the por'pOU Tfl

fo r the first ti me in 23 yeors, is intermuionaily

surprise hit when the Roya l Ope ra gave it its

introd uct ions to eac h act, all state thei r adherence

ad mited fo r his period -conscious pe rforma nces of

belated British premiere, in February 1994; this

to the music" l category that (fot instance, the gteat

Monteve rdi , Ra meou, G luck anJ Mozart; less well­

time the success was less surp ris ing, and even

British conduc tor S ir Thom"s Beecha m used to

known in thi s country - becilusc so much <If

gteater. Ope ras like C henWin, in ten ded above a l.1

explore with such elego nce: dessert fare , q uick ly

Go rdll1et's o peratic cateer has been spent in

to entertain, are less sute·fi re than the great,

absorbed and d igested, put tOgether with a degree of

France - IS his Beecham · like brilli ance and

indestructibl e masterpieces: the bettet they are

economy that gu"rantees its lingering effect o n the

viv acity o f tOuch in cond ucting O ffenbach ,

A 'light work', in su m: Chen,bin is sited in that

perfOTlDonee does on e rea lise th at be has once again said somethi ng valuable and pertinent about

area of musical -the"tre in which "spects of ope ra,

the human condit ion - abou t the maddening,

opere tta and musical comedy overlap, and in whi ch

delightful unpred ictahility of the human hea rt.

the Frenc h have " Iways excelled. In more than one se nse, indeed, Massene t' s score, with its sma ll units

O n thi s occasio n all these points could he made , and the cha rms o f the work simultaneously

performed , the more pleasure they give (and the

palate. But Cherubin is light in other ways as well.

Chabrier and other French operettas ,m el operas·

con verse holds exac tly true ). Since the revi va l was

Li ght in tex ture: scored in dew and gossame r, and

com lq ues. The play ing fIZZed with VItality ; the

a kn oc ko ut, one of the bes t-sung, best-played, best­

carried upon rhy thms whose fle xibility and

acce,mran iments to be)th singers and d3ncers were

acted and best-staged performances give n in the

respons iveness are a direct functi on of Masse net's

kept In the sha tpest o f foc us; the pacing was

house for so me while, Cherubin came across as

word -se tting gifts. And light in the rad ia nce o f

fa ultless. Gatdine r needs w be lu red back to the

three acts of o ld-fashioned musical· theatre

Londo n o pera hOLlses far mo re o ften.

magic. No mo re, some might say (tho ugh I

The ti tle role was take n I'y the

myse lf wou ld not be of their number) ­

A merican mezzo Susan G ra ham. The

but certain ly no less.

1994 C henwin performances had made

Chcrubin, premiered o n St

het a n inst<lnt London favourit e; this time

Valentine's Day 1905, is sub titled comedie

her star shone even more brightly - the

chantee (o r 'sung play') - a term devised

VO Ice mint-fresh, the phras tng borh

hI' Massene t ro d istinguis h the wo rk from

palpltatingl y passion ate and subtle. The

the bigger·scaled, more 'operatic' types o f

whole ptinclpal boy concep tion of the

opera he had prev io usly written, such as

ro le was lent a derth it can rarely have

Manon and Werther, his two best -loved

possessed . From the onginal cast Rohe rt

creati ons. The plot pivots o n the cha racte r

Lloyd's warmly sympathetic Phi losop het

of C he rubino, amo rous teenager of

(idea lised patent·figure , wise and

Bea umarc hais's p lay us Noces de Figaro ­

humane ) h-ad also been retained; the rest

and , of course, of Mozart's opera



were a lmost a ll newcomers - Alison

di FIgaro. (But Cherubin, tho ugh in

H agley's te nJe r, beaut ifully poised Ni na

subject· matter a sequel to th e first twO of

(sung in immaculate French), Eli zabet h

Beaumarchais' s 'Figaro ' plays and to

Futral's sweet·roned, sCintiil"tlng

Mo zart 's opera, has no connec ti on with

L' En so lleil ad, the high-styled , h ilari ous

the third of those Beaumarcha is pl ays , La Mere Coupable; its SourC e was a 190 1 Paris

assemh ly of d istingLlisheJ Cov ent Garden

bou levard comedy by Franc is de Croisset.)

vererans A nne Ho we lls, Ry land DaV Ies

Eiizanelh Furrai '" lhe prima ballerina L' EI15"ildlM.

and t he inco mparabl e Th o mas A ll en in

Cheru bin is now Ii, an infantry offi cer well past

voca l sound that fills each unfol.ding sequence: this

min or rol es - and a il instantly respo nded to t he

r ubert y - although Massenet insis ted on fo l.lowing

opera seems, but in fact is no t, a thtee -act

verve o f Ga rdlne r's·co ndu cti ng and the witty

Mozart in composing the part for a sop rano en

divertimento for high femal e voices.

concetts of Tim Albery' s modern -"cc enred proJ·

rraves rie - and rushing ftom one emo tional e ntangl ement to a nother. The young, innoce nt

Eve n the most ferve nt of Massenet- Iove rs, of wh om I'm one, will probably avoid making too

uct inn and Antony McDonald story book designs, with the ir lnanifo ld tribu tes to c in em" musicals.

Nin a and the wise old Philosophe r, C heruhi n's

much of Chbubin; equall y, alle,f us are likely to

tuto r, stand on the margins of the action, repres·

insist that one shou ld avoid moking too li ttle of it.

ent ing deeper, less frivolou s attitudes to love

This is a work that d eftn es for Itsel f limits of

the revivil l it was pruned of ex cess, and - in

c urrently out of C herubi n's reach. Then the King

unpretentio us entertai nment ond the n , with a skill

sympathy WIth the music - it too mo ved f<ls t, ligh t,

"f Spain's mistress, the prima ballerin a

as effortless as it is sc lf·concea hng, breaches the m.

and on its toes. Sad that this wonderful show was

L'Ensoleillad, also becomes involved , but tosses the

In setting out to capture the di zzie r moments of

no t preserved on video ; but good to know thilt

', . 'ung ma n aside, and finally he finds true love with

youthful romantic e mo tion , Massenet moved fa st ,

th e last eve ning in the run had been recorded

~ ina. Wry cu rtain references to Don Giovanni

light, and on his tOes; perh aps o nl y after the

fo r Rad io 3.

First time ro und the staging had struck me as arch, se lf'conscious, finicky, ov cr-detil ,[eJ; for




difficulty finding their feet on the C olise um stage. Her parmer, Farouk Ruzimatov, appeared to have passed through his recent phase of se lf­ parody, a nd danc ed with a new and welcome ma turity and express iveness, tho ugh his parmering was as ro ugh-edged as ever.

In the 1930s when N ine tte de Valois founded British ballet by gath er ing toge ther he r gro up of

O ne of the mOSt imp ress ive partnerships wa s Anastasia Voloc hko va and Igo r Zelensk y.

stout -hearted a nd even srouter-thi ghed girls in

Both ta ll and blonde, they shared the

th e Ballet Room at Sadler's Wells The a tre (a

inimitable Kirov lyri cal line and startling

na tio nal cultural shrine no w thoughtless ly

virtuosity, but most of all , danced as though

reduced to a heap of rubbl e), the Russ ia n ballet

eac h step was the most urge nt expressi on of the

trad iti on was already a couple of centuries o ld.

huma n cond ition.

They had spent twO hundred years

But the re was too mu ch o f Simon

pe rfec ting the urt o f the classical technique.

Virsaladze's scenery; too often the b,mal

When we found we couldn't do the steps, we

swamped the beauty and though th e

put a lo t of energy into creating some we could.

dancer's sheer love of their chosen way

Thus, a mere six ty years o n, no t o nly are we

of life was like a breath of fresh air,

catching up tec hnically, we have an indigenous

you left the theatre with o ut the

ch o reographic heritage that includes Tudor,

glow of complete satisfaction that

Ashto n, MacMillan, Cranko, Bintley and

usually accompanies a Kirov

Bruce. The Russians JUSt carried o n develo ping

pe rfo rmance.

brilliant dancers a nd le t the steps take ca re of

Plans are afoot to bring the

themse lves. Lo ng h ave we wondered a t the

co mpany back in the summe r

stagge ring incongruity which often separates

with a repertoire of proven

the Russian dancer's phys ical a nd artistic

triumphs. By then, with a bit of

ab iliti es and the work they a re called upon to

luck, Th e Nutcracker sho uld be a dim

petform. Such discrepancy was o n show this

memory, and the Kiro \' will once again

Christmas in London when the Kirov Ballet

be simply the best. •

fro m St Pete rsberg performed their version of

Th e Nutcracker at th e Coliseum. Vassily Vaino nen re- wo rked the 1892 Lev Ivanov version in 1934, a nd while there re main man y conceits and traditions that c ha rm the se ntimen ts, and th e eye, there is much that jars. The boys at the opening Christmas party, for instance, are played by girls en trav es ti - a refreshing contrivance that immediately cap tures the evening's o ther worldly to ne. But it is alarming to see the sa me corps de ballet, arguab ly the best in the world, craw ling around th e stage on all fours as vengeful mi ce in a breathtaking display of pouring away the baby with th e bath water. With the exception of senior balle rina, Altynai Asylmurat ova, the company field ed a clutch o f twenty-yeah) ld s in the lead ing role. Diana Vishneva o pe ned the season with a perfo rmance of cool contro l even tho ugh she , and the who le co mpany, were clearly hav ing


.9 7

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RONALD BERGAN REVIEWS THREE WEST END PLAYS FROM HIS ARMCHAIR Th e stay-at-home theatre lover should be extremely grateful for the Performance series of plays on BBC 2, which offers three recent West End productions: Arthur Miller's Broken Glass,

of pennies. I rook better care of my shoes,' she

seen the play one might find the time lapses

remark s. Finally, at the glib conclusion, the death

confusing, with a few tantalising mini

of her husband frees her to walk aga in. Its flaws notwithstanding, Broken Glass

flash-back s. Because the sc reenplay sticks very close ly to the original, those who enjoyed it in the

succeeds much better than the all-male My Night W/ith Reg, which lacks the wit and depth of Eric Rohmer's My Night With Maud, alluded to, albeit

Guy's cooking are more reali stic than was

ironically, as 'two hours of French peop le talking. I

possible on stage.

couldn't see the point.'

theatre will be content with the transfer and the added bonus that both the love making and

Given how self-absorbed and self-pitying

As in L'Arlesienne , Edward My Son and

mos t of the characters are, it is to the actors' credit

Kevin Elyot's M)' Night With Reg, and the Stephen

Rebecca, the eponymous Reg does n't appear

Sondhelm musical, Company, plus two unorthodox

though he has a powerful effect on the li ves of the

five minutes. David Bamber, especially, manages

approac hes to Shakespeare - Richard II, with Fiona

rest of the cast, most of whom he has slept with. In

to make the rather forlorn Guy sympathetic.

Shaw as the King, and Macbeth performed on a Birmingham housing estate.

fact, he dies in the second act of what is

Personally, though, I fl)und Roge r Frost's bald

unquestionably Aids, though, curiously the disease is never mentioned by name. The insinuation is,

bore, to be the most interesting. At least, he had

The first twOplays have been made inro films, thus enabling audiences to see a number of

however, that all of Reg' s sexual partners will

brilliant performances in the round, so to spea k, and in close-up. In Brol<en Glass, directed by David Thacker, Margo t Leicester (the

other topics of conversation besides sex and relationships - such as ,he building of

sa me thing.

conservatories, which, believe me, in this context

What a bunch of 'miserable pissers' these

is a fascinating subject.

are! The film, directed by Roger Mitchell, is much more so lemn and

psychosomatically, loses the use of her legs. The opening­ our and the cross-cutting are

far less humorous th an

never arbitrarily done and. ",hile it can be accepted as a bl)na fide film, mos t of the

stage. With anguished close-ups, low-key

I remember it being on

play', c, Intent and structure are retained. If, in the end, I found the TV versi on more mov ing than I did the live perform ance. it was due to the greater intimacy provided by a splendid cast including Henry Goudman as the husband - referred to as 'one mise rable little pisser' - and Mandy Patinkin as

The cam of Broken

Gloss (aDove) and

Compony, from ,he

BBC series


the doctor tryi ng to find the cause of Leicester's paralysis. It still seems tll me that there is some thing suspect about Arthur Millds view of psychology and of his emblemati c use of Kri sra llnacht (i.e. The

Nizht of Broken Glass). He first presents the wife's illness ilS a symbl)l of America's inab ility, and unwdllnglless, [L) do anything to help the Jews in Nazi Germany, on ly to reveal that her breakdown was due ro her sexual frustrati on and repress ion as a woman. 'I threw away my whole life like a couple



Bernie, whom the others consider to be a dreadful

eventually die of the

sad gays, or gay sads,

director's wife) is superb as a weIman who suddenly, and

that we don't lose patience with them in the first

lighting and plangent music, this group of irresponsibly promiscuous homosexua ls are depicted suffering from broken relationships and unrequited !cwe. (Many tears are shed and rhere is much rain outside.) As on stage, the action all takes place in Guy's flat ove r a period of months, though even if one has

Company, unlike Broken Glass and My Night With Reg, was recorded during actua l performances at the Donmar Warehouse in February last year, so its appreciati ve audience is both heard and seen. Apart from a few dissolves, and the close and medium shots, viewers get a pretty accurate idea of Sam Mendes' fluid production. In addition, during the interval, there is a short imerview between the director, looking 10 years old, and Sondheim, looking 100. All the performers are wonderfully dynamic, particularly Adrian Lester, but their singing, more so on televi sion where projection is unnecessary, segues into shouting mode when certain notes elude them. In addition, it needs a leap of faith, gi ve n the all-English cast and the drab setting, to believe that we are watching chic Manhattans in chic Manhattan. Sondheim's brittle, bitter ami-marriage musical of the early 1970s - interpreted by some as a gay allegory - comes to the unconvincing conclusion that it is better to be miserable with someone than mi se rable alone. Ne xt month, two more 'miserable little pisse rs', Richard II and Macbeth . â&#x20AC;˘




Charles C o rdier' s lewess of Algiers, with its pano ply of colo urs in the dress of the wo man, could be a bystand er in either version of The Ten Commandments, so little did DeMille' s view of things di verge fro m the High Victorian througho ut h is life. The very idea of portrayin g an Old Testament character or a temptress from An cient Egypt seems to have driven Vic torian sculptors to a frenzy of amazing Tec hnicolo r.

Year or Summer, are generally a signal for all interesting exhibition activity to ce ase for the duratio n, or at least to move o utside Lo ndon. Whether on the principle that 'nobody is in town', or the assumptio n that any substantial ex hibition strains the mind above and beyond the call of ho liday duty is not clear. H owever, it comes as no surprise that all the notable shows which o pen at the end of the year do so well outside the metropo lis. In the case of The

creator of Eros, even went in for what h as always see med to me the ultimate sculptural (lim -o ff, the chriselephantine. This curious form invo lves the creatio n of figures made primarily of bronze (vety likely glid ed) , but with the exposed flesh re presented hy carved ivory. I mu st admit that my aversion has less to do with the material used (no use cryi ng ove r bng­ dead elephants) th an with the unhea rahly coy style in which it is used by so me currently very fas hi,m able sculptors. I cann o t beli eve that Chiparius , fo r instance, the Llltimate putve yo r of expe nsive kitsch, at present cllmm ands higher prices than hi s conte mpora ry Rodin, whom no o ne douhts to be among the greatest of sculptors. Howev er, this show does offer exam ples of the techni que put to gOl,d usc by true artists like Gilhert and G oscom be Jo hn.

Colour of Sculpture, newly arrived in Leed s from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam , there may also be in play the faint notio n that sculpture is a little cold and unwelcoming for the depths of winter. But surely not - no t this sculpture anyway. The point is, that we generall y think of sculpture as hard and pure and sto ne-coloured, which frequ ently means the chilly (o r soapy) white of marble. But histOrically, classical and mediev al sculpture was generally painted in bright hues, and it is o nly time which has uncolo ured it. When John Gibson first exhibited his Tinted Venus in the 1850s, the sensuo us effect of this return to nature created a sensatio n . A s the century wore on, more and mo re sculptors co ttoned o n to the idea of c,:, I" ur. as lI'ell as experimenting mo re and more " de l,. with o ther materials than those (raditl e-nall\' employed by the 'serious' sculpture. Ins tead of Carrara marble o r tOffee­ coloured bra n: e, they were liable to break out into brightl\' gla:ed ceramic, coloured glass­ particularly that kind known as pate-de- verre, which is produced by grinding uniformly coloured glass to a po wder, then mixing the colo urs toge ther, melting them and moulding the material into clo ud ily polychro mati c shapes - painted pl aster, o r exot ic mixtures of stone and metal and such o rganic substances as ivo ry. Seeing the Leeds exhibition will gi ve many people a co mpletely new perspective on ' ~ulpture. A number of the pieces belo ng o:sv lutel y to the world of Cecil B DeMille:

Tinted Ve nus by John G ihson (ahove) , and Sud anese in Alge ria n Dress

hy Clwrks-Hem,-Joseph Cordier

At this period, towards the end of the nineteenth century, sculptors of the utmost respectability did not hesitate to do things which at any Other time would have been looked upon as too practical or tOo kitsch. C amille Claudel, fo r instance , wanting to embody the idea of Lost in Thought, unashamedly made it into a son of lamp, so that the fo reground fi gure of a yo ung wom an, her hands raised above her head to rest on a mantelpiece, kneels gazing into the fire, and is illuminated from the fireplac e by the warm glow of a tinted lightbulb. Alfred G ilbert,

Undeniably the sculptor introduces variegated colo ur only at hi s (or her) peril. But in the right hands the effec t can be, as the Restoration critic OIdmiringly o bserved of Wren's St Paul' s, ~ w ful , gaud y and artificia l. What better to brighten lip a chill winter in Le eds ) •

The C olour of Sculpture is at the H enry Moo re Institute, Leeds (0113 246 9469) until April 6.

MARCH 1997

API"LA Sf 47

ofJstage o LJW y A F"IF.i-~, LE GI.'NE SOUR

benearh a pil e of mamesses. As The N ew Yo rk

ship on stage remains a mystery, though production

T he

Times po inted out, 'The re's a su btle, melting quality

sources say the set will be des igned in such a way


d ISappoi ntment o( the Broadway season

rh '} 'a{ has j,een the $4 .5- million revival of Once L';-

~ .. !<lltWS starring Sarah jess ica Parker. Th e

;md, al. "h ich was (irst produced in 195 9 and

at Miss Pa rker's core th at this sh.tic k-driven show

that it will gradually tilt toward the audie nce as the

ca n't accommod ate.'

ac tion unfolds. In add irion, seve ral acro rs will be

The rest of the cast were suprisingly wea k by

bUr. L h~.:I the career of Carol Burnerr, opened in

Broadway stand ards , the choreograp hy, inept, the

[\,.:~rnbe r

direction listless, and the sets cheap- looking. On ly


ro terrible rev iews. As o( thi s writing, it

sr ilil imping along at the Broadhurst Theater,

h 'u2h its days, surely, are numbered. This is too ~ 'd . since

Ma ltress, a musical adap tation o( Hans C h rIStIan Andersen' s The Princess and the Pea, h as

suspended above the stage by wires (or most of the second act.

Mary Rodgers' tune(ul score e merges (rom th is production unscat hed. In all, what happened backstage at Mattress was (ar more interesting than

And fina lly, Th e Life, a new musical by Cy Colema n

(Barnum, Sweet Charity, City of Angels) opens April

anythi ng happening onstage.

30. It's set in a sleazy Times Squa re of th e 1970s.

10ng been a (avonte wirh A merican aud iences.

Indeed, the show, with its score by Mary Rodgers (daughtet of Richard), riva ls both Oklahoma' and

Jekyll and Hyde, by compose r Frank Wildhorn and lyricIst Leslie Bricusse, makes its debut April 28

Th e SOllnd of MlISic in the number of performances


licensed to amateu r theau e companies each year,

Edward Albee thinks it's (\me ro revive his classic

kicking aro und (or years, and h as just come off a

play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf: on Broadway.

successful nationa l rour. Its show-stopping song This

So what went wrong! Fo r staners, a nasty ­

at the Pl ymout h Th ea te r. ThIS show has been

and very public - feud between the lyricist and the

The question is, who's going ro play Marth a'

Is the M oment h as bee n perfo rmed by countl ess Miss

dtrecror that broke out sh ord y before the show

Right now, borh Diana Rigg and Elizabeth As hley

America c<)ntesr ant -. Let's hope the criti cs are nor

<,pened. Things became so ugl y rhat rhe di recror­

are giving c ritica lly-acclaimed performances in the

aware o( that (act. •

tIVo-time Tony Awa rd-wi nner G erald Gur ierrez ­

role; Rigg in rhe Wesr End and Ashley at the

banned the Iyricisr, Marshall Barer, fro m rhe theaue

Coconut Grove Pl ayhouse in Miami. Poo-poo ing

a (ew days before opening night. 'To say rhere is

the norion that the two ac uesses are compe ting fo r

tensi on berween Gerald Gutie rrez and mysel( is an

his approval, Albee said, 'Let' s nor think o( them as

undersrarement,' Barer thunde red ar me over rhe

duelling Marthas. They a re borh splendid, and at

phone from his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico,

this point I have no idea what I am going ro do.

where h e had gone ro lick his wounds. 'Thar man

Cerra inly, there won 't be a (Broadway) producr ion

has ruined my show' I( rhey'd ler me get near him,

unt il rhe fall.'

I'd rip him ro shreds - and his dog, roo!' (The

Albee did indicate he was conce rn ed that

di recro r' s Yo rkshire rerrier, Ph ylli s, o(ren

Ameri can crit ics might be put o ut by an a ll English

accompanied him ro rellearsal s.)

cast in an American play. 'It' s concei vable that

Gurierrez declIned ro comment on rhe (eud,

there might be some hostility,' the playw righ r sa id,

bur backsrage sources said ir began when Barer

'so we might have ro thmk about th at if we decide

ba rged into S,,,ah jessica Parke r's dressing room o ne

ro bring the London productio n to New York.'

nighr and info rmed her th ar, 'This show is a disaster, and you are a disasrer.' He then, accord ing ro

comment, but Ashley said: 'Honey, I don 't have a compe tit ive bone in my bod y. Diana Rigg


a very

Burnett's pe rfotmance. Barer denied rh at ve rsion o(

grear acuess. I'm sure i( we were rogethe r having

events. 'A ll I did,' he rold me, 'was reach o ut ro

80,000 Bloody Marys, we cou ld mi x it up, but since

Sarah. S he was ha ving rrouble, and I rold he r I had

we're nor , we won't. The (act that t wO broads ou r

some rapes of the original production , which mighr

age are still standing shou ld be newswo rth y enough.'

he helrful to her. When Gerry (ound ou r, he


has taken out th e laughs, and he has taken o ut the


spirit. Ir doesn't acumen ro spor a loser, and our

Things are cook ing o n Broadway as wintet turns to

show is a lc1Ser. ·

spring. A mong the new musicals set ro open next

In addi tion ro the turmoil in the wings, the


called rivalry' Rigg couldn't be reach ed (or

rapes o( Carol Burnerr, so rhar she cou ld recreate

han i,hed me ,' Ba rer went on to complain that


W hat do Rigg and A sh ley think of their so­

sources, rold he r he was goi ng ro mak e her warch

Gutierre: 'directed my show as i( it we re Medea. He


month is the eagerl y-awa ited Steel Pier, by John

castmg o( Sarah JessIca Parker a lso helped ro

Ka nder and Fred Ebb, the team behind the sm ash

unde rmine the production. Parke r, the longtime

hIt, Chicago. The show, which rakes p lace at a da nce

girl fr iend o( Matt hew Brode rick, is a love ly acrress,

marathon du ring the Great Depression , already has

as rrerry and as del icdte , yo u might say, as a prtncess.

excellent word -of-mouth . It opens April 24 at the

Wh ich is a big problem, si nce her cha racter is

Richard Rodgers Thearet. April 24 is also sink-or­

' I!Prosed ro be a tombo y, who's so rough and ea rthy

swim time (or Titanic, a new musical by composer

(tn r nobody believes she's a princess until she

Ma ury Yeston and oookwtiter Perer Sto ne. How

::' f<'ves sh e's se nsirive enough ro feel a pea placed

direcror Rich ard Jones is planning to sink a cruise



Iv\ARCH 1997



The season brings famed Irish 'horsey' play.

or a show that made a difference, I need o nl y go back a few days



What Spring flower features in the title of an operetta about Franz Schubert?


'Primrose is a pretty little Rower who lives on Primrose Hill: In which British musical play?


Bird-song is being heard again . Which feathered friend belongs to which stage title?

the inc redible

produc tio n of A Doll's House m the Playho use. For o ne thin g it was do ne su aight ,

(a) (b) (c) (d) (e)

not like thar ghasd y producti o n of Hedda

Gabler hy Deborah Wa rn er With Fio na Shaw at the sa me thean e ~ li[[l e whil e ago, which had me wa ntin g [() th row s[()nes at the stage . I'm

S.... ... Can't Sing Cage Me a ..... .. The Cot and the .... .. .... .. in the Nest Sky ...

n\)[ interested in directo r' s conce pts. I'm interested in a director whose im ag in ation ca n


Two show-biz brothers who became Lords. What was the surname they were born with ?


Gertrude Lawrence, Broadway's original Lady in the Dark, died during the run of which musical, and in which year 2


A play called Tom and Clem premieres shortly. Tom and Clem who?


Name Frank Wedekind's seasonal play about burgeoning adolescent sexuality?


Which National Theatre Hamlet sang and danced a certain 'Sky'?

bri ng to the audience wh at th e autho r is sa ying. Antho ny Page projec red what the text was about and, o f co urse, there was a se nsa tio nal performa nce fwm Janet McTee r. However, if I had


choose something

that I saw a shorr while back th at I will remembe r fo r a very, very lo ng ti me, it wo uld hav e to be Sa m Mendes' prod uc ti on of Assass ins at the Do nmar Warehouse. I tho ught that it , ho wed Stephen So ndheim at the height of his po wers . The musica l sa id something memorab le and interes ting abl)ut those that are excluded from sociery, but managed to do so , no t in a dour way, no t in a kind of Brecht/Weill way, bue still in


mordant manner. I suppose So ndhe im

is cav iar to the general, as he makes demand s o n his audie nce. People usua ll y do n't want to think when they go


musica ls; they just want

a pleasa nt eve ning out. But I happen



th at Asssas ins was supreme ly entertaining. A lthough I' ve sa t in pmliament fo r 27 yea rs, and can' t reall y se parate my jo b from the rest of my life, I do n't think I'm like those po li tiCians who seem


feel that the o n ly kind

of the at re they shl)uld go


is somet hing that

has a didact ic theme, almos t as if it' s part of their duty. When I go


th e th eatre, I do n't go

to do my duty, I go to be enlightened but eme rtained at the sa me time. It took me quite a wh ile ro ge t ro und


see ing A Doll's House, but

when I'm utterly determined find the time.




see a thin g, I' ll

10 Who were the starry-eyed couples in the original Broadway I Do I Do (1966), and in the first West End production two years later?

M:j~W ' H jJa~!)!J!:~;b

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NOW B O O K I N G ! 颅

Applause Magazine – March 1997